SUNY leaders met with lawmakers in Albany on Feb. 10 to outline the university system’s proposed budget request of $239.2 million in operating support and additional support for SUNY’s capital assets. SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher testified before the State Assembly Committees on Ways & Means and Higher Education and the Senate Committees on Finance and Higher Education that a combination of new allocations and the continuation of existing measures are needed to allow SUNY to meet its goal of increasing total annual graduates from the current 93,000 to 150,000 by 2020.
“SUNY has spent the last five years figuring out what we can do to educate more of these students and help them succeed through college and into career, and we are ready to bring ‘what works’ to scale,” Zimpher said. “Increased investment in SUNY can and will lead to a higher degree of success for all of New York’s students.”
SUNY New Paltz President Donald P. Christian joined Zimpher in testifying to the importance of continued and expanded investment in SUNY. “A great education that prepares students to thrive in and contribute to a 21st century global society and economy includes more than great classes with great professors,” said Christian. “It requires out-of-classroom experiential learning like internships, study abroad, and research projects, that let students apply classroom lessons to the real world. All of these require faculty and staff time and attention, modern facilities, and operating funds. We have invested in growing such programs, but bringing them to scale requires deeper investment than we can make with current resources.”
SUNY’s budget request includes $50 million per year over five years to support an Investment Fund, which will enable a system-wide scale up of programs in support of student success, Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP), applied learning and expanded advisement services.
The request also asks for a five-year capital plan and an increase of the current $200 million marked for renovation projects on SUNY campuses to $600 million annually.
“We need continued capital investment in our aging infrastructure to ensure students have the innovative learning spaces they need for a high-quality education,” Christian said. “New Paltz is a popular university, and our facilities are strained, even with our current capital projects.”
Additionally, SUNY’s budget proposal includes funding for the following:
- The continuation of NYSUNY 2020 measures, which hold SUNY harmless from state budget cuts through a maintenance of effort and grant an extension of rational tuition increases of up to $300 annually to the year 2020;
- Incremental expansion of investment in the Governor’s Master Researchers Program, which enables SUNY to recruit and retain high-impact professors who generate research, development and commercialization opportunities;
- Increases in community college funding;
- Restored funding for university-wide programs, campus salary costs, and SUNY’s three teaching hospitals.
Testifying alongside Chancellor Zimpher and President Christian were Binghamton University President Harvey G. Stenger and Monroe Community College President Anne M. Kress.
A full transcript of Chancellor Zimpher’s testimony is available online.