ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)— SUNY Chancellor John King and CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez testified before the state legislature on Monday.

“SUNY respectfully asks our champions in the legislature to accept all the SUNY investments proposed in the executive budget,” said John King, SUNY Chancellor.

Some of those investments include $53 million for faculty hiring, $75 million for a transformational initiative fund to support workforce development programs, and $200 million for digital transformation and IT infrastructure.

But there is one proposal, in particular, many lawmakers brought up— increasing SUNY tuition.

The Governor proposing an annual tuition increase of up to 3% for CUNY and SUNY campuses and for university centers, up to an additional 6% each year for the next 5 years.

When asked by Pat Fahy, Assembly Chair of the Higher Ed Committee, as to why the support of a tuition increase particularly among university centers King replied, “The governor has proposed a modest tuition increase across the system to try to provide that reliable revenue source. That said, 53% of our students at our campuses today, don’t pay tuition because of the generosity of Pell, TAP, and Excelsior Program and that will continue to be true even with the tuition increase.”

When it comes to the differential tuition for the four university centers of Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook, King says their cost structure is different.

“To be able to fund research faculty, to be able to fund graduate students that conduct research with those faculty. To fund the operations of labs that bring well over a billion dollars of federal research money into the state, they need more resources.”

Chancellor King emphasized the importance of making sure SUNY University Centers are competitive with universities in other states.

The final budget is due April 1st.