Passage of NYSUNY 2020 Legislation is a Major Achievement for UB 2020

Authorizes next phase of UB 2020 plan for academic excellence

Release Date: June 24, 2011

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University at Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi said the NYSUNY 2020 bill will have a transformative effect on the university and spur regional economic development.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi today praised the passage of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's NYSUNY 2020 bill as a major accomplishment in the pursuit of academic excellence at UB and for economic development efforts vital to Western New York.

"Today the university and all of Western New York share in an achievement that puts our community on a path toward a promising future," Tripathi said. "I extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation to all those who helped make this possible: Gov. Cuomo, the Western New York delegation, Senate and Assembly leadership, business, labor and community leaders and UB alumni, faculty, staff and students.

"We have worked together successfully over the past several years to make the case that a stronger university will benefit students, families and all of Western New York."

The bill, Tripathi said, will have a "transformative impact" on UB and public higher education in New York State. Moreover, it offers a historic new model for investing in public higher education during a period of declining state funding support.

The bill authorizes all SUNY campuses to implement a rational tuition plan that gives the campuses the ability to raise tuition up to $300 annually for five years. In addition, as a component of the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program, the four University Centers in Buffalo, Albany, Binghamton and Stony Brook are authorized to raise tuition 10 percent for out-of-state students.

Importantly, the bill prevents the state from cutting funding to SUNY an amount equal to the revenue generated by tuition increases. This was a long-standing practice in Albany following SUNY tuition increases.

A copy of the bill is available here.

These critical resources will provide the revenue needed for UB to implement the next phase of the UB 2020 plan for academic excellence, under the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program, Tripathi said.

The three main interrelated objectives of UB 2020's next phase, Tripathi said, are "enhanced educational and research excellence, improved health care for Western New York and creation of an innovation economy that will produce regional job growth."

UB will use funding provided by the bill to offer students the very best academic programs, hire new faculty in a variety of academic disciplines across the university and spur regional economic development through groundbreaking faculty research and education of a talented workforce.

"UB 2020 is first and foremost a plan for building a great university; it's a plan to advance the academic and research enterprise of our university so we can make the world, locally and globally, a better place," Tripathi said.

New York State low-income students who qualify for maximum financial aid through the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) will not be impacted by tuition increases authorized by the bill. To ensure equitable access to UB, the university also will invest a portion of tuition revenues into need-based financial aid.

"The financial-aid program authorized by the bill, and UB's financial-aid plan, will assure that a UB education remains accessible to low-income and middle-income students," Tripathi said. "Even with tuition increases, UB will remain one of the most affordable public universities in the U.S."

By authorizing capital funding from the governor's NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program and other sources, this legislation also enables UB to move forward with its plans to relocate the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in downtown Buffalo.

With the hiring of new faculty, the university will realize significant academic benefits, including expanded course offerings throughout the university, smaller class-sizes and enhanced research opportunities for students -- all of which will improve students' educational experience and their time to degree completion.

Location of the UB medical school to downtown Buffalo will stimulate an already vibrant Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and its surrounding neighborhood. And it will more closely align UB with Kaleida Health and Buffalo's other major health care institutions. This will create new educational opportunities for medical students, improve regional patient care and boost the region's emerging biotechnology industry.

As UB implements the next phase of UB 2020, as presented last month to state leaders, university officials anticipate creating 1,325 new jobs at UB (410 faculty and 915 staff to support clinical care, service, teaching and research); 1,740 new jobs in the community resulting from UB's research growth (based on U.S. Department of Commerce estimates); and 200 jobs in 10 start-up companies developed from UB research and partnerships. In addition, more than 1,600 construction jobs would be created to build a new UB medical school in downtown Buffalo.

Details of UB's plan to move to downtown Buffalo, under the NYSUNY Challenge Grant, are available here.

Please refer to this FAQ for additional information about the bill's impact on the university and Western New York.

UB Student Association President JoAnna Datz said she is pleased that UB students will benefit from expanded and improved educational programs and activities.

"The NYSUNY 2020 plan to grow the university and improve the quality of our education will benefit students in the future," Datz said. "UB students will have the opportunity to access academic programs comparable to those at the nation's best universities, UB will remain one of the most affordable schools in the country and the value of a UB degree will increase as UB becomes known as a great university."

UB faculty member Joseph A. Gardella, professor and Larkin Chair of Chemistry, praised the passage of the bill and said the hiring of new faculty, staff and assistants will add strength to UB's research, teaching, economic development and civic engagement efforts.

"UB 2020 is known nationally as a plan that expands our human resources by hiring the best new faculty and staff," Gardella said. "This legislation provides predictable tuition increases for students and parents. And, importantly, it gives the university resources for hiring faculty who will serve our students and our community and contribute to research and knowledge that impact Western New York, U.S. and global communities."

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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