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SUNY Fredonia considers tuition incentive to boost out-of-state enrollment

New York State Senate

A state lawmaker is defending a plan that might see SUNY Fredonia lower its tuition for students from Pennsylvania and Ohio as a way to try to boost out-of-state enrollment.

The proposed three-year pilot project would still require out-of-state students to pay 1.5 times the rate of in-state tuition. But under the current system, out-of-stater enrollees pay double the rate.

Attracting more out-of-state students to Fredonia would create economic opportunities and strengthen the SUNY system, said State Senator Catharine Young,  an Olean Republican.  Young told WBFO that Fredonia derives only 20 percent of its budget from the state, so she does not believe that lowering the out-of-state tuition differential would cause fiscal pain to taxpayers.

How would Young respond to an argument that if tuition is going to be reduced, New York students should be the beneficiaries? The state senator said there are already programs that provide assistance for in-state students.

"We need to think out of the box and make sure that our SUNY system is strong," said Young. "What we face in Western New York is stiff competition from other states, especially Pennsylvania."

Some Pennsylvania colleges have been offering incentives to try to lure out-of-students.

Young plans to sponsor a pilot project that would allow SUNY Fredonia, Alfred State and SUNY Potsdam to lower the out-of-state tuition rate. The state legislature must approve any plan that affects tuition.