University at Buffalo Council members Tuesday opposed a proposed state limit on student fees that UB officials say would cost the university at least $12.4 million a year and seriously curtail services to students.
The Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing bills introduced in the Assembly and the State Senate by their Higher Education Committee chairmen, Assemblymen Edward C. Sullivan, D-Manhattan, and Sen. Kenneth P. LaValle, R-Port Jefferson.
Their bills would limit student fees to 15 percent of tuition, phasing in the change over three years.
"In principle, we would have no particular objection to the fee-cap legislation, if the state was willing to supply an alternative source of revenue -- but there is no indication of that," said UB President William R. Greiner.
The resolution passed Tuesday by the UB Council, the university's local governing body, said the proposed bills as written "would significantly reduce the University at Buffalo's ability to provide essential and desirable student services."
Dennis R. Black, UB vice president for student affairs, said, "The university has worked with the state and with the students to develop a comprehensive university experience, and this particular piece of legislation could have a devastating impact on that."
UB and other State University of New York institutions currently assess their own fees.
A typical UB undergraduate pays $1,165 a year in student fees supporting health services, athletics, technology, transportation and campus life at UB.
The LaValle and Sullivan bills call for limits of 25 percent of tuition for the first year, 20 percent for the second and 15 percent for the third.
If tuition for undergraduates at SUNY schools remains at $3,400, as it has for six years, this would have SUNY undergraduates paying no more than $510 a year in student fees three years from now.
The Fredonia State College Council recently opposed the proposed limit on fees.
"It would create about a $750,000 hole for us, and would affect the kinds of services we provide for students," said Jean M. Malinoski, Fredonia State's vice president for development and college relations. Fredonia State students pay about $800 a year in student fees.
Buffalo State College charges $464 in student fees, or 13.6 percent of tuition, and thus would not be affected by the proposed legislation, said spokeswoman Nanette Tramont.