Assemblyman Canestrari, and members of the Legislature, thank you for inviting
me to testify. It’s a privilege to take part in the public conversation on the
future of the public higher education in New York State.
As we all
know, higher education is key to future economic development in the state. From
workforce development to the scientific research that is the basis of
innovation for the New Economy, the return on investment in SUNY is
dollar the state invests through direct aid to SUNY generates more than $8 for
the state’s economy, resulting in a total economic impact of $18.4 billion per
year. Every student offered a place at one of our four-year schools will earn
an additional $1 million over their lifetime because they hold a four-year
is the opportunity to take New York’s very
good public higher education system and make it great – but this will only be
possible with your leadership and support. My testimony last week focused on
four principal areas for investment … access, quality, capital and
affordability … and I appreciate the opportunity to talk to you again about these
important matters in the future of public higher education in New York.
to invest in access.
of full-time, first-time students at the State University is at an all-time high. While SUNY
community college enrollment has increased 23% in the past 5 years, enrollment
at four-year SUNY campuses has held steady primarily because state funding for
enrollment growth was absent. This has resulted in a growing number of
community college graduates being denied admission to a four year SUNY campus.
public higher education is a point of pride and an obligation for New York and, with strategic investment,
SUNY can remain an open gateway to better lives and more opportunities for all
New Yorkers regardless of family income. SUNY maintains points of entry for
all students through our four-year colleges and our network of community
colleges. In addition, for more than 35 years, the university’s Educational
Opportunity Program has provided access to public higher education for students
whose economic circumstances prevented them from realizing their full potential
in high school. We currently have just over 10,000 students in our EOP program
system wide, a number that is capped by limited state funding to support the
educational costs continue to increase and there is a larger pool of
college-going students each year, we need to uphold our commitment to ensure
that every single New
York State student who wants to earn a college
degree has a place in our public higher education system – regardless of
to invest in quality.
of an institution is only as good as the people leading its instruction and
research. Outstanding faculty attract outstanding students. Our faculty is internationally
recognized for their expertise in fields as diverse as medieval literature,
computer animation, and nanotechnology. They are winners of awards including
the Nobel Prize, Dirac and Fields medals, and MacArthur “Genius” grants.
driving technological innovation in all phases of research, from basic
scientific research to product development. Last year SUNY faculty were the driving
force behind 11,000 sponsored projects on SUNY campuses, 78 licenses or options
with businesses, 245 new invention disclosures, 32 new U.S. patents and $13.5
million in royalties.
are also an important factor in attracting and retaining the innovative
workforce that is the key to economic growth. Our faculty creates rich cultural
communities that are highly attractive to the innovators who can provide our
state with a competitive advantage in driving future wage and employment growth
we need to invest in more tenure track, full-time faculty across the University
system. At our four-year campuses, 65% of the faculty is full-time. At our
community colleges, the figure is 35%. While our adjunct professors provide
quality instruction, the number of full-time faculty must increase. They
perform the research, advising and service that are critical to maintaining
high quality at the university.