SUNY Joins Colleges Nationwide in "A Commitment to the Future"

October 2, 2012

Nearly 500 Public Colleges Vow To Award 3.8 Million By 2025

Albany – State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher today announced that SUNY and nearly 500 public colleges across the country have signed on to “A Commitment to the Future,” which aims to boost the nation’s degree attainment to 60 percent by awarding an additional 3.8 million baccalaureate degrees between now and 2025. The commitment includes pledges to reduce time to degree, enhance academic quality, and curtail college costs.

“Like public colleges throughout the country, SUNY is committed to providing students with a higher education of the highest quality – an education that is not only affordable but also attainable and useful in today’s job market,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “SUNY is proud to endorse a national goal that will position the U.S. as the world leader in post-secondary degree attainment.”

Through Project Degree Completion: A Public University Initiative, the institutions will increase the number of college degrees they award from an estimated 14.6 million to 18.4 million over the next 14 years. Collectively, public colleges and universities currently award just over 1 million degrees annually.

The initiative was led by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). The commitment, which SUNY helped to craft, fits in strongly with the system’s goals to increase access and success. Related SUNY efforts include:

  • Connecting the Transfer Dots: SUNY has recently built upon its system-wide transfer of general education credits to include core courses in the majors chosen by 95% of transfer students. Guaranteed transfer of these two curriculum components is the basis of seamless transfer for community college graduates. SUNY is working to align degree requirements for A.A. and A.S. programs, as well as all bachelor's programs to the guaranteed course matrix.
  • Opening the Door to Online Education: Open SUNY has the potential to be the nation’s most extensive distance learning environment, connecting students with faculty and peers from across the state and throughout the world to give them access to the best in open educational resources. Using a combination of online courses, new on-line degrees, an expanded YouTube channel, and a new presence on iTunes U.
  • Turning Access into Completion: SUNY is working to ensure that students who enroll in SUNY seeking a degree will have the courses and support needed to graduate on time. Each campus will set targets to improve its completion rates. These targets will be set by the SUNY Council of Presidents and once agreed upon, will be included as a factor in presidential evaluations.
  • New York State Completion Day: The SUNY community colleges will celebrate NYS Completion Day tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 3. The Day, which will include events at all campuses, is meant to send a message to all prospective students that completing an associate degree ensures greater opportunities for scholarship and transfer throughout their college career and generates more job prospects following graduation.

Many SUNY colleges also signed the commitment, including: UAlbany, Alfred State College, Binghamton University, College at Brockport, Buffalo State College, University at Buffalo, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Cortland, SUNY Delhi, SUNY Downstate, Empire State College, SUNY ESF, Farmingdale State College, SUNY Geneseo, Purchase College, SUNY Fredonia, Maritime College, SUNY New Paltz, College of Optometry, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Old Westbury, SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Plattsburgh, SUNY Potsdam, and Stony Brook University.

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

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Holly Liapis
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