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State University students must pay an immediate $150 tuition increase for the spring semester, trustees of the nation's largest public university system decided today.

Another $150 tuition hike was approved for the fall semester.

Tuition for state residents attending the university system has been frozen at $1,350 a year since 1983 and will now rise $300 to $1,650 annually.

State University of New York Chancellor D. Bruce Johnstone said SUNY campuses will allow students who can't pay the increase to defer their tuition payment for the spring semester and also help arrangebank loans.

The first $150 tuition increase will raise $16 million, helping SUNY save $60.9 million required to help balance the state's budget. However, classes will be cut at 17 campuses statewide as well as a continuation of a hiring freeze and other cost-cutting measures, Johnstone said.

"This is not a firing list at this point," Johnstone said.

In addition to the tuition increase all but low-income students will also see a $100 decrease in state tuition assistance. Johnstone called the Tuition Assistance Plan cut "utterly ill-advised."

SUNY personnel, including graduate students, will
also have one week of their salaries deferred to save about $18 million. One day will be deducted from five pay periods starting in January with the money returned to a staffer when they leave SUNY service.

SUNY officials said that despite these cost savings, one or two campuses will have to lay off personnel. The University at Buffalo and Buffalo State College are not among those facing layoffs, officials said.

In a mid-November meeting in Buffalo, the trustees instructed Johnstone to bring them a formal recommendation for a mid-year tuition increase as one way to prevent laying off 2,000 employees, about 10 percent of the work force.

Without the tuition increase and the use of $7 million in fund balances (saving SUNY a total of $23 million next spring), Johnstone said SUNY would be forced to lay off between 1,500 and 2,000 employees.

Some 21 campuses will be cutting some administrative positions, although officials were not immediately available this morning to identify those schools.

UB and Buffalo State are among the majority of campuses that will continue a hiring freeze, reduce overtime, defer equipment purchases -- including a delay in the rehabilitation of laboratories at UB -- and will shut down during holidays to save on energy costs.

Six campuses are also planning to reduce police coverage, but they do not include UB or Buffalo State.

As part of the state's efforts to close a projected $1 billion deficit, SUNY is required to reduce $50.9 million of its spending. In addition, another $8 million must be saved because of energy costs that are higher than expected and $2 million for unexpected enrollment increases at some colleges.

The cuts will mean a $211,981 reduction for UB (.97 percent of its total budget) and a cut of $48,582 at Buffalo State College (.74 percent). Fredonia State College will lose $25,517 (.76 percent) and Alfred $20,035 (.97 percent).

Those reductions will be trimmed when SUNY officials calculate the savings from the one-week "lag" in the staff payroll.

The SUNY board also adopted an early retirement program designed to save the state money. Employees age 50 and older and with at least 10 years of credited service are eligible for the new retirement incentive.

Judy Krebs, president of the Student Association of the State University and a SUNY trustee, asked the board to roll back fees imposed earlier this year on bus service, parking and commencement. Those and other proposals were withdrawn after they did not receive support from other trustees.

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