SUNY Board of Trustees, Presidents Ask State Legislature to “Invest in SUNY”

March 11, 2015

Board Chairman H. Carl McCall Leads Trustee Delegation at Albany Press Conference

State-Operated Campus Presidents Request Extension of NYSUNY 2020 in Open Letter


Albany – State University of New York Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall and Ambassador Carl Spielvogel, chair of the Board’s Communications and External Affairs Committee, today led a delegation of SUNY trustees and leaders at an Albany press conference calling for increased state investment in SUNY.

SUNY campus presidents in every region of the state have called on the Legislature to “Invest in SUNY” at press events in recent weeks as the system campaigns for the establishment of a SUNY Investment Fund and extension of NYSUNY 2020 legislation in the 2015-16 New York State Budget. The system has also established an Invest in SUNY website, outlining the details of its request and providing a vehicle for New Yorkers to lend their support.

“SUNY has a knowledge and expertise in what works and we know that, given the right amount of state investment, we can lead our students to higher degrees of access, completion, and success,” said Chairman McCall. “Chancellor Zimpher and campus presidents in every region have brought the ‘Invest in SUNY’ campaign to communities across New York State in recent weeks. The Board wholeheartedly agrees with this critical message. It’s time to increase investment in SUNY.”

“I have watched with great enthusiasm and anticipation in recent years as Chancellor Zimpher has united our stakeholders around a common vision and created a significant buzz around what it means to support SUNY,” said Ambassador Spielvogel. “Investing in SUNY will have a significant impact not only for our students, but for New York’s local and state economies. As SUNY works to increase the number of annual graduates from 93,000 to 150,000, state support through a SUNY Investment Fund is essential.”

The key component of SUNY’s budget request is an Investment Fund that will enable SUNY to bring to scale evidence-based programs known to support student success, including Finish in Four completion promises, applied learning, Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP), and expanded advisement services. These programs – proven to work at one or more SUNY campuses already – would be expanded system-wide.

SUNY is also asking the Legislature to extend NYSUNY 2020 and continue the legislation’s rational tuition policy, which adds predictability to the cost of a SUNY education through incremental annual tuition increases. Since NYSUNY 2020 was first enacted, SUNY campuses have used additional revenue generated by rational tuition to grow and expand student services, including hiring 520 net new instructional staff, 270 of whom are full-time faculty, and the implementation of 100 new degree programs reflecting high-demand areas in New York’s workforce.

The presidents of SUNY’s state-operated campuses presented an open letter to legislative leaders today, supporting the system request and requesting an extension of the legislation through its indicated end – 2020. The presidents’ letter was presented at today’s event by UAlbany President Robert J. Jones and Purchase College President Thomas J. Schwarz, who both spoke at the event. A copy is available online.

Several student organizations throughout SUNY have already voiced support for its extension as well, including those at Stony Brook University, University at Buffalo, SUNY Maritime College, and SUNY Oneonta.

To support continuous improvement at the system’s 30 community colleges, SUNY is requesting an increase of $250 per Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) student to the current base operating aid funding level of $2,497/FTE for this year, which would be the first in a “Rational Funding Plan” for this sector. Among other measures, the plan would introduce a “Finish in Two” initiative modeled after the “Finish in Four” completion guarantees that have proven successful at several SUNY colleges. The plan will also focus on increasing diversity, as well as enhancing academic support services, including math remediation through Quantway and Statway, and decreasing student-to-counselor ratios.

Finally, the SUNY budget request includes triple the $200 million dollars in capital funding included in the Executive Budget, to $600 million per year, over five years. Nearly half of the buildings on all of SUNY’s campuses were built between 40 and 50 years ago, and this level of investment will support critical maintenance of SUNY’s facilities and ensure that the students, faculty, and staff on campuses across the state are kept warm, safe, and dry.

“We cannot plan the future of our State University on yesterday’s dollars,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature have said they want education to be a priority. By supporting our request in its entirety – establishing a SUNY Investment Fund, extending NYSUNY 2020, and supporting our community colleges – New York can give SUNY the tools it needs to educate more of its residents and prepare them for success in college and career.”


About the State University of New York
The State University of New York, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, 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 2022, 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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