Residents of New York State worry that the budget deficit inherited by Governor Andrew Cuomo will force him to push for tuition increases at the state’s public colleges.

According to an Associated Press article in the Wall Street Journal:

Legislative leaders and advocates fear that a crushing deficit will force Gov. Andrew Cuomo to propose tuition increases for New York’s public universities following years of funding cuts and a previous tuition hike.

The Cuomo administration, now working on the state budget proposal, hasn’t yet signaled if the state’s $11 billion or larger deficit will prompt an increase or if the governor’s “no new taxes, period” promise will also mean no tuition increase for more than 600,000 students.

State schools in New York can’t institute tuition changes without the approval of the legislature.

Last year public college administrators urged the state to allow schools to raise tuition on their on initiative to compensate for declining funding from the state. Cuts from Albany reduced the State University of New York (SUNY) system’s total budget by $634 million last year.

The bill, called the “SUNY Empowerment Act,” failed in August. [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer