Statement from SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher on Governor Cuomo’s Built To Lead Agenda

January 13, 2016

"I could not agree more that public higher education in New York can and should be 'the envy of our country.' Governor Cuomo continues to set the bar high, emphasizing the importance of quality education and professional teaching at every stage and positioning our state to lead the nation.

"We are thrilled to see a continuation of the SUNY Investment and Performance Fund with a second installment of $18 million included in the governor’s budget. Through the creation of this Fund last year, New York State supported SUNY’s efforts to increase the number of degrees awarded annually from 93,000 to 150,000. We look forward to continuing to build on our early successes with this additional support.

"Like Governor Cuomo, we view tuition as a partnership between SUNY, our students, and New York State. I applaud the governor’s willingness to keep tuition-setting authority with the SUNY Board of Trustees and for ensuring – as our students requested – that additional tuition dollars will be spent solely on improving education. Predictable tuition has become a hallmark of SUNY’s affordability and we are proud to maintain the lowest four-year public tuition in the northeast.

"We also share the governor’s commitment to improvements along the entire education pipeline, including support for innovative high school designs and investments to create more community schools at both the k-12 and community college levels. SUNY remains ready to partner in these programs, which prepare students to succeed in college, career, and life.

"Finally, Governor Cuomo continues to empower SUNY as an economic engine for New York through capital projects across our campuses and workforce development programs that provide workers with 21st-century skills. We look forward to partnering with faculty and local businesses to deliver the Clean Energy Workforce Opportunity Program and Apprentice SUNY, which will address the growing high-need areas of clean energy and advanced manufacturing.

"SUNY is proud to stand with Governor Cuomo in forwarding an ambitious education agenda for New York State and continuing our discussions with the Legislature leading up to the final budget."

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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