SUNY Students Protest Tuition Hikes

SUNY Students Protest Tuition Hikes

Overview

By Seth Voorhees

BROCKPORT, N.Y. — If you’re a recent college graduate, or even a parent of a college student, you know the deal. Many young adults are entering the workforce with a mountain of student loans. Around New York Friday, students at a number of state schools protested proposed increases in tuition.

At the College at Brockport students have a lot on their plates.

“I work three jobs, now I work two and an unpaid internship and I go to school,” said Danielle Fenley.

Fenley and her classmates have other concerns, it’s in the numbers. Students are finding themselves thousands of dollars in debt from student loans.

“It’s kind of unbelievable the kind of money we’re going to have to pay back after college, I think,” said Fenley.

So on this issue, campus activism Friday was alive and well. At noon, students walked out of classes protesting proposed tuition increases totaling $300 a year over five years.

“It’s come to the point where a college diploma is like a high school degree was 40 years ago. It’s something everybody needs to get a job,” said Fr. Michael Caprio.

Student loan debt continues to climb. Students have mounted a campaign to voice their worries.

“How do you expect someone who is well into their career, some of those numbers are what people are making a year,” said sophomore Kelsey Delpriore.

“How much is it going to cost? We don’t know. And what we’re trying to do today is set the future in our favor,” said Joe Yanulevich Jr.

For state-run schools, the issue is compounded by the fact that the state contributes less toward operating those colleges. Brockport receives $9 million less from the state than it did in 2008. But can student protests make a difference?

“I think it can. The message of if you’re going to raise tuition then you need to raise your investment in SUNY, I think that’s a positive message,” said David Mihalyov.

Students say it won’t stop. Not until their concerns are heard.

“It’s so hard for someone who’s trying to be someone in society. For someone that ambitious, why are we drowning them in debt?” said Delpriore.