2013 NY SUNY 2020 Testimony - Vancko

2013 NY SUNY 2020 Testimony

New York State Assembly Hearing

December 12, 2013

“New York’s Public University Systems’ Use of State Aid and Revenue Generated by Tuition Increases”

Testimony By State University of New York at Delhi President Candace S. Vancko

 

Good morning, Chairwoman Glick and members of the Committee. Thank you for this opportunity to address the New York State Assembly’s Higher Education Committee regarding the use of state aid to the State University of New York and the implementation of predictable tuition.

As president of SUNY Delhi since 1999, I have served New York State and SUNY through several budget cycles, and I can attest to the fact that the college at Delhi, and those across the SUNY system, have benefited greatly from NYSUNY 2020 and the predictable tuition policy and maintenance of effort provided therein. Thank you for your support of this ground-breaking legislation, which has proven to be a vital asset as we rise to meet the needs of our students, faculty, and staff as well as the immediate community surrounding Delhi and the entire state.

Predictable tuition is perhaps the biggest legislative win for SUNY during my tenure, and likely longer. As a result of this legislation, our students are better able to plan for the costs of college from the moment they enroll with SUNY and every semester that follows. With “tuition roulette” off the table, students and their families know what their higher education is going to cost them up front, so they can determine early on whether they can afford those costs and put a payment plan in place. For many, this distinction can be the difference between degree completion and the incurrence of loan debt that does not ultimately culminate in a college degree.

Further, the value of this policy and the ability it has given the SUNY state-operated campuses to prepare our own budgets based on reliable and predictable sources of revenue in the forms of student tuition and state support, cannot be overstated. Over the last three years at SUNY Delhi, NYSUNY 2020 has helped us generate $4.5 million in total revenue. After a $1.5 million Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) obligation, the campus has netted $3 million, every dollar of which has been reinvested in services that directly benefit our students.

We have added nearly two dozen new faculty positions in various Liberal Arts and Sciences areas, Nursing, Mechatronics, Electrical, Criminal Justice, Welding, Veterinary Science Technology and the online BSN program. In addition, we have gained new academic support staff in technology services, grants, and institutional research. Each of these additions to our faculty and staff – nearly 30 in all – was made strategically, to address specific academic interests, student demand and institutional priorities. Additionally, we have increased access, accommodating a small growth in enrollment, most of which has come online, and we have become more affordable. This is in part a result of our fundraising efforts - our centennial campaign has generated more than $1.5 million for scholarships – and in part a result of the commitment made by the State of New York to the Tuition Assistance Program.

In summary, predictable tuition has been a true game-changer for SUNY Delhi, moving us forward from a very difficult fiscal environment and giving us new resources and tools to hire new faculty, expand academic programs, and accommodate more students. It has reduced our reliance on adjunct professors and made our campus a more desirable destination for top faculty candidates nationally.

Going forward, it is my hope that predictable tuition, in concert with maintenance of effort - which would include collective bargaining increases – could continue to provide resources that would allow us to strategically enroll students in high-demand fields and expand academic and job training programs to support New York’s economy while increasing student access, completion, and success.

Government Relations