Statement from SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher on President Barack Obama's 2013 State of the Union Address

February 13, 2013

"Laying out his plan for our nation to create and support the workforce we need to compete in the new, high-tech economy, President Obama was unequivocal in his belief that access to high quality education – from cradle through career – is the only way to get it done.

"In early childhood education, the President proposed working with states to ensure high quality pre-school for all children. SUNY is fully committed to improving every stage of the education pipeline and just recently launched the New York Cradle to Career Strategic Alliance to provide support and training for communities to adopt this comprehensive, collaborative approach. As SUNY trains more teachers than any other institution in New York, we can help to ensure this level of access will serve as a critical foundation for success for the students who will eventually enroll on one of our campuses.

"In high school, the President proposed a new Race to the Top challenge that rewards schools for partnering with business and higher education to prepare students with real skills in the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, and math. SUNY's Empire State STEM Learning Network is already creating those kinds of alliances every day, and in response to the President's new directive, will now focus intently on assisting more high schools and school districts across New York State to compete for these resources.

"In college, the President proposed that the Higher Education Act be changed to include affordability and value as criteria for distributing federal aid. The State University already consistently scores highly in national rankings for value amongst public colleges and is committed to further reducing the cost of college through several initiatives including sharing services, implementing online and 3-year degrees, and through the SUNY Smart Track campaign which aims to reduce debt and default rates among our students.

"And, having already committed to adopting the Federal Financial Aid Shopping Sheet, we look forward to working with the President in releasing his new College Scorecard that will help students and their parents compare the value of colleges across the country with the level of transparency they deserve."

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, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school, and business in the state. As of Fall 2018, more than 424,000 students were enrolled in a degree program at a SUNY campus. In total, SUNY served 1.4 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs in the 2017-18 academic year. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Its students and faculty make significant contributions to research and discovery, contributing to a $1.6 billion research portfolio. There are 3 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 opportunity, visit

Share this:


Holly Liapis
Email the Office of Communications