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New York public higher education union urges hospital funding

The union that represents faculty and staff at the State University of New York system urged state lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul to back $175 million for the state’s three teaching hospitals in order to bolster their finances.

The United University Professions has been pushing for additional funding at SUNY campuses around New York over the last several weeks as the state budget season is underway in Albany.

Hochul this year has proposed a potential increase in tuition costs for students who do not receive a full award from the Tuition Assistance Program or the Excelsior Scholarship. Hochul also wants to link tuition to the Higher Education Index or 3% increases, whichever is lower.

Hochul has framed the proposal as a “modest” increase for both SUNY and its counterpart, the City University of New York.

The union, meanwhile, has raised concerns over the need for financial support for public higher education in the state during the budget season. The group pointed to the $160 million operating deficits for 19 campuses.

“We cannot emphasize enough the pressure SUNY campuses and hospitals are under. Albany needs to act immediately to fill the gaping holes in higher education and healthcare funding. Governor Hochul stated a strong vision for SUNY last year, and though there is more support for SUNY in this year’s Executive Budget, it is not enough to overcome years of austerity under the previous administration,” said UUP President Frederick Kowal. “We urge our lawmakers to do their part to ensure the betterment of SUNY and preserve its affordability, and to include this much-needed funding in their budget proposals.”

The budget is set to be approved by April 1, the start of New York’s fiscal year.

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