ALBANY, N.Y. – Senator James L. Seward (R/I/C- Oneonta) today joined his senate Republican colleagues in announcing a proposal to develop a prepaid college contract plan that would generate much-needed revenue for SUNY schools in exchange for fixed tuition at any SUNY school when the participants are ready for college.
“This program is a win for students and their families, a win for our SUNY campuses, and a win for New York,” said Seward. “Investment in a college education is a major expense for students and their parents. By adding some predictability to that cost, more middle-class families can plan for their future today. ”
Under the plan, parents could enroll children under the age of fourteen in a program that would lock in their future tuition at the current rate. The revenue generated by participation in the program would be used to enhance support for SUNY schools. Over the next ten years, this plan could result in a state university investment of more than $8 billion.
“Our SUNY schools are one of our best resources, and this program supports them with investment dollars needed to make on-campus improvements,” Seward added. “SUNY campuses are major employers in communities in the 51st district and across upstate New York. Restaurants, hotels, and retail establishments also depend on the SUNY dollar. We need to support this vital segment of our economy, while at the same time providing our young adults with the best education available.”
Unlike traditional college savings plans that are based on investment earnings in the stock market, the plan proposed by the senate Republicans allows parents to pay for future tuition credits at today’s rates regardless of how much tuition increases over time. Instead of placing the funds in today’s volatile market, the money will be invested directly in the schools in order to allow them to make improvements to position themselves for the future.
“The governor and his fellow Democrats saw fit to raid SUNY of tuition increase funds to pay down the state’s deficit. My Republican colleagues and I in the senate want to be sure these dollars, which rightfully belong to SUNY campuses, are returned,” concluded Seward.
The program would allow for new participants over the next five years and includes a state guarantee to protect participants.
Seward, a member of the senate higher education committee, has fought for additional Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) funding, restoration of cuts to the SUNY community college base aid, and additional operating aid for SUNY schools.