SUNY Board Aims To Boost College Access, Affordability, & Completion In 2017/18 State Budget Request

November 30, 2016

New NY-SUNY 2020 Tuition Model Returns Cost Predictability for Students & Families

Trustees Ask for "Hold Harmless" Provisions to Protect Campuses and Programs from Budget Cuts

Albany – The State University of New York Board of Trustees today approved the university system’s 2017/18 New York State Budget Request, which totals $85.8 million in support for SUNY’s State-operated campuses, community colleges, statutory colleges, and teaching hospitals. The request is centered on student success, with proposed investments aimed to boost college access, affordability, and completion, while providing SUNY students with tuition predictability and ensuring sustained direct State investment in the SUNY system.

In support of this approach, Trustees request an extension of the NY-SUNY 2020 tuition plan for an additional five year period, of which 2016/17 was year one, revising the model to enable each State-operated campus to propose one of four maximum resident undergraduate tuition rate changes annually: $0, or an increase of $100, $200, or $300. The new model will return the authority to set tuition to the SUNY Board, take into account the varying financial needs of individual campuses, and reinstate predictability for SUNY students and their families.

Trustees also seek predictability in direct funding for the university’s State-operated campuses, requesting a "hold harmless" provision to protect them from annual budget cuts and cover costs outside of their control, such as collective bargaining contracts, which could drive more than $60 million in new costs to campuses in the coming months.

"This budget request represents a level of partnership between SUNY, New York State, and our students that will support the ambitions we all share for student achievement in college and career," said SUNY Chairman H. Carl McCall. "Through increased access to our most successful programs, needed investment in our infrastructure, and predictability for both our campuses and our students, SUNY’s request encompasses all of New York’s higher education needs. We look forward to working with Governor Cuomo and the Legislature to secure this necessary support for SUNY in the enacted State Budget."

"New York State has an obligation to provide a clear financial outlook for our campuses, our students, and their families," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. "At the same time, less than half of adult New Yorkers have earned a college degree and 70 percent of jobs in our state will soon require one – and SUNY has a responsibility to close that gap. Our budget request outlines a strategy to uphold both commitments. Together with New York State, we can and will continue to ensure more students have the opportunity to go to college and complete their degree on time, with less debt."

Following is a summary of SUNY’s $85.8 million request for State funding in 2017/18:

State-operated Campuses

  • NY-SUNY 2020: 0, 1, 2, 3: Extends the 2011/12 predictable tuition model for five years, of which 2016/17 is year one. Beginning with 2017/18 and through 2020/21, each campus will request from the SUNY Board of Trustees one of four maximum resident undergraduate tuition rate changes annually: $0, or an increase of $100, $200, or $300 – based on the needs of their campus. The SUNY Board will review campus decisions annually and maintain final decision making authority following review and approval by the Chancellor or her designee.
  • Establish a Predictable Operating Model: Evolve the 2011/12 Maintenance of Effort legislation to a "Hold Harmless" model, where funding remains at least static annually, and costs outside campus control (i.e. collective bargaining) are funded through increased support.
  • Child Care: $0.5 million to support the 300 parents and students who access Child Care Centers at 22 SUNY State-operated colleges
  • Statutory Campuses: $6.2 million for the statutory SUNY colleges at Cornell University and $0.3 million for the SUNY College of Ceramics at Alfred University

University-wide Programs

Targeted support for programs proven to increase completion and financial aid literacy as well as programs that make college a possibility for an increasingly non-traditional student population, including:

  • SUNY Investment and Performance Fund, $32 million: first started by Governor Cuomo in 2015/2016, this fund supports the scale up of evidence-based campus completion programs throughout SUNY
  • Empire Innovation Programs, $15.5 million: research opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students
  • Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP), $10 million: SUNY EOP programs receive more than 30,000 applications from students annually, less than 10 percent of which are funded.
  • Educational Opportunity Centers and ATTAIN labs, $1.5 million
  • SUNY Small Business Development Center, $1.5 million

Community Colleges

SUNY proposes to replace an antiquated per-student funding model used since 1948, maintaining stable year-to-year funding supplemented by:

  • Support for Student Success, $15.2 million: Funding will be utilized to increase student services and programs, as well as support small Community Colleges. 
  • Community Schools, $2.5 million: five additional Community Schools, bringing the total to 10
  • Child Care Support,  $0.5 million: supports the 1,100 parents and students who access the Child Care Centers at 26 SUNY Community Colleges


SUNY seeks toadjust the SUNY hospitals Medicaid rate to provide more "up-front" support, as well as aid the hospitals by forgiving debt service for critical maintenance projects.

Capital, $800 million

With more than 1,800 academic buildings covering 65 million square feet, SUNY’s State-operated campuses account for 40 percent of all New York State facilities, and the average age of its buildings is 46 years old. SUNY requests a five-year $4 billion capital plan that equates to $800 million annually to address critical maintenance needs across the system and allow for adaptive reuse of existing facilities, as well as new construction to meet student needs and programmatic goals.

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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