Chairman H. Carl McCall: Invest $73 Million of Direct State Aid in SUNY and We Can Freeze Tuition

March 23, 2016

Board of Trustees Outlines Legislative Agenda – Including NYSUNY 2020 Renewal, Community College Support – as State Budget Deadline Approaches

Albany – The State University of New York Board of Trustees today held a press conference in Albany to announce that if the Legislature provides SUNY with $73 million in direct state investment, the Board can freeze resident undergraduate tuition at the state-operated campuses, as proposed by both houses of the legislature, and continue to maintain a world-class university system.

SUNY is also calling for growth in the Base Operating Aid provided to SUNY’s 30 community colleges, beginning with a $285 per student increase for the 2016-17 academic year. This would provide for additional state investment in these colleges approximately equal to the average increase in costs beyond their control, such as employee benefits.

"We agree with the Senate and the Assembly," said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. "We want to freeze undergraduate tuition at our state-operated campuses – and we will – but SUNY has an obligation to continue providing a world-class education for our students, and the funding has to come from somewhere. If the state increases their share of direct support to cover SUNY’s $73 million in projected mandatory costs, we can take a tuition increase off the table.

"But we cannot afford to go backward on the critical reforms of NYSUNY 2020, which include a lot more than predictable tuition rates," McCall added. "NYSUNY 2020 has been an economic development game-changer for New York State, resulting in large-scale, high-impact projects involving our campuses over the last five years. It has held New York’s public universities harmless from budget cuts. It has kept tuition at the 2010 rate for our neediest students through the Tuition Assistance Program." 

"Tuition setting authority should stay with the SUNY Board of Trustees, and NYSUNY 2020 should be renewed," said Binghamton University Student Thomas Mastro, who serves as President of the Student Assembly and as a member of the SUNY Board. "Students know what they’re getting when tuition authority rests with the Board as opposed to the state, and, importantly, we have a seat at the table. If SUNY gets the state investment it needs to continue providing us with a world-class education and students don't have to shoulder the burden, that's a win-win for all of New York."

"At a time when less than half of all New Yorkers hold a college degree and more than 70 percent of all jobs in our state will soon require one, the need for investment in public higher education cannot be overstated," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. "SUNY is at the precipice of moving the dial on college completion to the tune of 150,000 graduates per year, but we will not reach our goal without sufficient support from the state."

As agreed when NYSUNY 2020 was first enacted, SUNY campuses received the additional funds generated by their students and reinvested all of it back into enhancing the quality of their education over the last five years. As a result, 919 new faculty were hired and 350 new academic programs were created across SUNY.

"A renewal of this legislation – together with a $73 million investment from the state – will enable us to keep that momentum going, to keep enhancing the quality of a SUNY education," said Chancellor Zimpher. "SUNY’s budget is not just about tuition. It is about ensuring that SUNY students have what they need to finish college and enjoy a successful living in New York."

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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