Zimpher has big role in rising college costs

State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher isn’t afraid to take a not-so-bold stand against the “fiscal cliff,” but she does appear afraid to take responsibility for her role in driving up the cost of college tuition while reducing the quality of public higher education.

In a Nov. 26 Another Voice, Zimpher claims, “With rising college costs and the increasing call on high school graduates to enter some kind of post-graduation career training, community colleges need optimal resources.” Students in Buffalo couldn’t agree more.

While many factors have driven up the cost of college, the most obvious source of higher expenses for SUNY students in Buffalo is the Zimpher-stewarded Rational Tuition Plan. This plan, signed into law in the summer of 2011, locks every SUNY institution into 5 percent to 8 percent tuition increases each year for the next five years, with no consideration of the slow-moving economy. It’s time for the chancellor to realize that every tuition hike puts higher education further out of reach for the very students the SUNY system was established to serve.

A November audit of the Research Foundation revealed that the chancellor, who has a base salary of $500,000, had charged a $28,000 bar tab to the SUNY system. The highest paid administrators at SUNY consume massive quantities of resources that should instead be trimmed to maintain quality education at an affordable price.

Community colleges and other SUNY institutions aren’t receiving the funding they need from federal or state sources. Until Zimpher is held accountable, our schools will remain in perpetual crisis with diminishing returns for graduates and our state.

Josh Cerretti