New York State Budget Cuts Funding to Elite Private Universities

New York state budget cuts aid to private colleges with $750M+ endowments, impacting elite schools like Columbia, NYU, and Cornell. Officials criticize the decision, citing harm to families and access to higher education.

Olalekan Adigun
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New York State Budget Cuts Funding to Elite Private Universities

New York State Budget Cuts Funding to Elite Private Universities

The New York state budget has eliminated aid to private colleges and universities with endowments of at least $750 million, impacting elite schools such as Columbia University, New York University, and Cornell University. The $18 million cut in aid affected 16 different institutions, leading to discontent among higher education officials.

The cuts were initiated by Governor Kathy Hochul and approved by the state Assembly and Senate. NYU saw the largest reduction of $4.7 million, followed by Columbia University with a $3.25 million cut, and Cornell University losing $1.8 million in funding. Other affected schools include Fordham University, St. John's University, Syracuse University, the University of Rochester, and Hofstra University.

Higher education officials have criticized the decision to single out specific schools, arguing that it will harm hardworking families and limit access to higher education. "It's a very dangerous precedent to be picking winners and losers, to look at endowments and say, 'Well, you have money, therefore you don't need money,'" said Mary Beth Labate, president of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities.

However, lawmakers defended the cuts, noting the need to prioritize funding for public colleges in the SUNY and CUNY networks. The governor's office stated that the budget decision was made to target resources to institutions in greater need of support.

Why this matters: The cuts to aid for elite private universities in New York state highlight the ongoing debate over funding priorities in higher education. The decision has broader implications for students and families who rely on financial assistance to access these institutions.

Despite the cuts, the New York state budget also includes $16.9 million in aid to approximately 100 colleges and expands family income eligibility for the state's college tuition assistance program. Labate expressed gratitude for the increase in tuition assistance but maintained that the cuts to the Bundy Aid program will ultimately increase costs for students and families at the affected private institutions.

Key Takeaways

  • NY state budget cuts $18M in aid to private colleges with $750M+ endowments.
  • Cuts impact elite schools like Columbia, NYU, and Cornell, with NYU seeing largest reduction.
  • Higher ed officials criticize "picking winners and losers" based on endowment size.
  • Lawmakers defend cuts, prioritizing funding for public SUNY and CUNY colleges.
  • Budget also includes $16.9M in aid to 100 colleges, expands tuition assistance.