The True Cost of Tuition Hikes on SUNY & CUNY Students

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By Andrew Perry, Senior Policy Analyst

March 2023

Key Findings

  • At the State University of New York’s (SUNY) four university centers — which more than 40% of SUNY undergraduates attend — the executive budget authorizes 9% annual tuition increases starting in Fall 2023.
  • By 2027, the cost of a four-year undergraduate education at a SUNY university center could rise by 52%, or $22,300.
  • Both in-state and out-of-state tuition for SUNY university centers could become among the most expensive for public flagship universities in the U.S.
  • Tuition increases would hit the CUNY system as it faces a hiring freeze and $175 million in cuts — five to six% of its total budget — in fiscal year 2024, potentially decreasing enrollment.


The Governor’s executive budget for fiscal year 2024 aims to increase funding for New York State’s public university system, in part through sharp tuition increases. For the State University of New York’s (SUNY) four university centers, the tuition increases could result in a 51 percent tuition increase over five years. Tuition hikes of this size would represent a generational shift in New York State’s higher education landscape, moving its public universities from among the most accessible in the U.S. to among the most expensive. In doing so, these hikes could jeopardize the universities’ role as engines of upward economic mobility.