Chancellor Zimpher, Board of Trustees, Students & Faculty Ask New Yorkers to “Stand With SUNY”

November 5, 2015

Statewide Campaign Will Urge Support for SUNY’s Investment and Performance Fund, Renewal of NYSUNY 2020 

Chancellor Zimpher To Travel the State, Bringing the #StandWithSUNY Message to Every Region

New York City – State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, the SUNY Board of Trustees, and student and faculty governance leaders today asked all New Yorkers to “Stand With SUNY,” announcing the launch of a statewide advocacy campaign urging public support for the university system, its campuses, students, faculty, and staff. SUNY will seek to secure increased state investment and the renewal of the landmark reform legislation, NYSUNY 2020, in order to keep tuition setting authority with the SUNY Board for the next five years.

“With increased investment in SUNY, I have every confidence that our university system will not only meet – but exceed – the expectations of students, faculty, and staff, as well as the communities we serve in every region,” said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “As a result of the bold action of Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature in passing NYSUNY 2020 and establishing the Investment and Performance Fund, New York is only beginning to realize how valuable SUNY can be. Now, we need to continue that progress and plan for our future.”

“In carrying out the landmark reforms of NYSUNY 2020 and preparing to allocate the Investment and Performance Fund, we have proven that SUNY can and will maximize the state’s investment,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “Our completion agenda for SUNY is ambitious but achievable, given the funding necessary to bring our best programs and initiatives to scale throughout New York State.”

“Students stand with SUNY because SUNY has stood with us,” said Thomas Mastro, SUNY trustee and president of the SUNY Student Assembly. “It is crucial that decisions concerning tuition continue to be made by the Board. Students and families must have the ability to financially plan ahead and be able to rest assured that their tuition dollars are staying within SUNY and on their respective campuses. Ensuring that tuition is going directly back into benefiting the future of students is vital. I applaud the chancellor and my fellow Board members for their continued advocacy to increase New York State's investment in our system and for their commitment to affordable, on-time, quality education. The Student Assembly looks forward to continuing to work with leaders in Albany to make SUNY the very best that it can be for students.”

Peter Knuepfer, SUNY trustee and president of the University Faculty Senate said, “Renewal of NYSUNY 20200 – extending it until 2020 – is an essential component of the State commitment to public higher education. Moving forward with a true maintenance of effort, accompanied by a parallel and predictable investment by students and their families in the cost of their education, is necessary to provide the level of education we owe the public. A further investment to allow SUNY to take successful approaches to scale across our campuses will maximize campuses' ability to enable students to achieve the success they seek.”

Nina Tamrowski, SUNY trustee and president of the Faculty Council of Community Colleges, said, “Our community colleges educate half the students in the SUNY system. The Faculty Council, on behalf of SUNY’s 30 community colleges, looks forward to increased state support for investment in student success programs as well as an increase in base aid to operate our campuses. New York's families deserve a strong state investment in community college education to support access and affordability in all regions across the state."

The goals of the #StandWithSUNY campaign are to secure state investment for SUNY in order to:

  • Build base funding for the system’s state-operated campuses, community colleges, statutory campuses, and teaching hospitals;
  • Grow the Investment and Performance Fund so that SUNY can bring evidence-based programs to scale; and
  • Extend NYSUNY 2020 to continue the challenge grants for campuses and keep tuition-setting authority with the SUNY Board while ensuring tuition flexibility by college sector.

The Board today adopted three resolutions to support the campaign, the system’s 2016-17 Operating and Capital Budget Requests, as well as the methodology that will be used to allocate a $100 million Expanded Investment and Performance Fund to scale evidence-based campus programs in support of SUNY’s completion agenda.

Chancellor Zimpher also announced plans to travel the state, joining campus leaders to share the #StandWithSUNY message with SUNY’s governmental, business, education, and community partners in every region. The state-wide tour will begin tomorrow in Poughkeepsie, where Chancellor Zimpher will deliver a keynote address at the Council of Industry Member Expo. 

Chancellor Zimpher said the financial predictability provided by NYSUNY 2020 has vastly improved the SUNY experience not only for students, but also for campus operations.

“We simply cannot go back to a time when students applied to SUNY without knowing what their tuition rates would be year-to-year; when our state-operated campuses faced massive reductions in direct support from the State; and when each new budget further decreased funding per student for our community colleges,” Chancellor Zimpher said. “NYSUNY 2020 has become essential to maintaining the affordability and quality of a SUNY education, and we cannot let it expire.”

In the four years since NYSUNY 2020 was enacted, new predictable tuition revenue has benefited SUNY students through the hiring of more than 1,000 new faculty and instructional staff, the creation of more than 100 new degree programs in high-need fields, enhanced student services, and expanded tuition assistance to ensure that SUNY remains affordable for the neediest New Yorkers.

About the 2016-17 SUNY Budget Request
In addition to general maintenance and operational costs, the 2016-17 State Budget Request adopted by the Board today reflects a total of $8.7 billion of activity for the coming year, comprised of direct State tax support and self-generated revenue activity, including:

  • $164 million in direct State tax support for the base costs of, and investment in, the state-operated campuses, community colleges, statutory campuses, hospitals, university-wide programs, and linked activities, including salary support costs and a predictable plan for increasing the community college State funding per Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) student by $250 a year for three years;
  • $109 million in direct State tax investment for all SUNY institutions, including the increase of the Investment and Performance Fund from $18.0 million to $50.0 million, a State match of unrestricted philanthropic activities and federal research/ grant activity, State support for student scholarships and fellowships, and investment by the State in a system-wide diversity program;
  • $1,525 million to support SUNY’s capital plans for educational facilities, community colleges, residence halls, and hospitals.

About the Expanded Investment and Performance Fund
The enacted 2015-16 State Budget included $18 million to establish an Investment and Performance Fund for SUNY’s state-operated campuses. The intent of this new funding was to drive new and innovative ideas from SUNY campuses, helping them meet the goals of their legislatively required Performance Improvement Plans. SUNY pooled new and existing resources to build upon this investment from the state and open up eligibility to all campuses, resulting in a $100 million Expanded Investment and Performance Fund.

In answer to a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking programs that could be taken to scale to support its completion agenda, SUNY received more than 200 proposals from its campuses, with requests totaling more than $460 million. Common themes among the campus proposals include the expansion of Educational Opportunity Programs, improved student advising, increased research, enhancing workforce development, and stronger K-12 engagement.

Proposals recommended for award, following a comprehensive review by internal and external stakeholders, will be shared with Chancellor Zimpher for final review and approval before the end of the year.

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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