Published June 9, 2011
BUFFALO, N.Y. (June 9, 2011) -- University at Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi joined Western New York business, labor, health and community leaders and elected officials in praising New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for introducing pioneering legislation that will establish a fair, predictable and responsible tuition policy for the State University of New York's state-operated campuses. "I commend the governor for his vision and commitment to public higher education," Tripathi said. "This legislation is good for our students and for our community. We will have the resources necessary to provide our students with the highest quality education, while increasing the university's economic impact on the region."
Tripathi pointed out that the bill will address two shortcomings in the state's current approach to tuition. "The governor's proposal will provide students and families with the ability to financially plan for their education and, at the same time, it will protect access for students with financial need."
The governor's bill calls for the implementation of a "rational tuition" plan that would allow SUNY's state-operated campuses to increase tuition up to 5 percent per year for five years, along with a "tuition plus" program permitting the four SUNY university centers -- including the University at Buffalo -- to add an additional 3 percent following approval of the proposals these campuses submitted under the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant initiative.
These new revenues will go directly into strengthening UB's academic and research mission of excellence by fostering new learning, discovery and innovation and preparing students to achieve their goals. These revenues, along with the governor's NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program, will help UB achieve the next phase of its long-term UB 2020 plan and extend its efforts to spur job creation and economic growth in Western New York.
The governor's legislation will for the first time in SUNY's history allow students and families to properly plan for the cost of a college education in a predictable manner. The legislation will go far to correct the historical inequities associated with past tuition increases, which have resulted in six dramatic and unpredictable tuition hikes over the past 20 years.
These tuition increases were kept in Albany and used by the state to address its budget deficits during fiscally challenging times. The plan UB presented to the governor on May 24 requests that new tuition revenues remain with the campus.
UB remains strongly committed to keeping access to a quality higher education affordable, and it will set aside a portion of the new tuition revenue to provide financial aid for lower- and middle-income students.
Jeremy M. Jacobs, CEO of Delaware North Companies and chairman of the UB Council, said UB's proposal has earned unprecedented support in the region -- from business leaders, to legislators to students to faith-based organizations. "UB's plan is a strategy for our entire region to move forward -- economically, culturally and socially," Jacobs said. "A better UB will yield a better, stronger Western New York. Governor Cuomo has shown strong leadership in advancing this plan and I commend him for moving UB's NYSUNY 2020 plan forward by introducing today's legislation."
Paul Brown, president of the Buffalo Building & Construction Trades Council, said, "Tuition revenue is a critical element of the UB 2020 plan. The building trades will never have the opportunity to construct any buildings for UB if UB doesn't have the revenue to hire faculty and staff to occupy those buildings. We are grateful to Gov. Cuomo for his leadership in taking this critical first step."
Andrew J. Rudnick, president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, said, "The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is pleased to see Gov. Cuomo's continued leadership and focus on creating opportunity for UB and other SUNY schools across the state to grow. For several years, the Partnership and the entire Buffalo Niagara region have advocated in Albany for tuition reforms that will create a stronger education for UB students, greater research capacity, critical operational revenue for UB and greater flexibility to enhance ongoing, badly needed investment in downtown Buffalo, the creation of thousands of construction and permanent jobs and a major impact on the Buffalo Niagara economy. The governor's proposal is a positive step forward and we look for the State Legislature to agree."
Robert T. Brady, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Moog, Inc., said, "I commend Gov. Cuomo for introducing legislation that provides the key operational revenue to move UB's NYSUNY 2020 proposal towards reality. UB 2020 is not only a long-range vision for the university. It's also a long-term economic vision for our region -- and our best hope for real economic recovery in Western New York. The business community has united to embrace it as the leading economic development priority. Implementing a strong rational tuition program is a wise business strategy that will pay off for our economy for decades to come. I hope that our state's leaders agree, and I urge them to provide UB with the ability to take this important step. The future of the Western New York economy depends on it."
James R. Kaskie, president and CEO of Kaleida Health, noted that the momentum created by UB and Kaleida Health's expansion in downtown Buffalo would make the region a national hub for patient care and medical research. "We have an unprecedented opportunity before us to transform our region's economy and pioneer new treatments and innovative health care. The legislation the governor has introduced today moves this opportunity forward and provides the critical fuel needed to expand UB's student and faculty presence on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus."
Rev. Michael Chapman, pastor of St. John Baptist Church said, "Gov. Cuomo's tuition legislation is a critical step to assuring the university can continue to move UB 2020 forward, which will have positive impact throughout the Fruit Belt and City of Buffalo. The university's downtown expansion will enhance East Side revitalization by producing a critical mass in new jobs and economic impact."
Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, D-140th district and Assembly sponsor of the UB 2020 legislation (A. 5799) said, "The governor's support of SUNY's proposal to implement rational tuition is a huge step in the right direction not only for the SUNY system as a whole, but for the University at Buffalo and Western New York. This plan will allow UB to move toward its UB 2020 vision by allowing university officials to properly budget for expansion projects that will enhance UB as a premier university. I applaud the governor's legislation not only for this reason, but also because students attending SUNY schools and their families will have the ability to properly plan for their future."
Assemblymember Sam Hoyt, D-144th district, said, "I am pleased that Gov. Cuomo has heeded the University at Buffalo's call for a rational tuition plan. For too long, parents and students have been burdened with sporadic spikes in tuition. This new plan will set a timeline for tuition increases so that families can plan ahead. With an additional 3 percent of funding dedicated to our university centers, our campuses like the University at Buffalo can expand into world-class research facilities."
Assemblyman Dennis H. Gabryszak, D-143rd district, said, "Rational tuition will help students and parents accurately plan for education funding as well as help SUNY institutions, including the University at Buffalo, help implement plans for NYSUNY 2020. I thank Gov. Cuomo for recognizing the need for tuition increases; it will bring our schools closer to the national average and will help further UB as a leading research institute."
Assemblymember Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, D-141st district, said, "I fully support a rational tuition policy for SUNY. Our students need predictable tuition that will, with no question, go to fund their university and their education. Gov. Cuomo's tuition-plus plan will enable SUNY to set rational tuition and to retain that revenue for critically needed programs to help offset the negative impact of recent austerity measures imposed upon SUNY. This legislation is a meaningful step towards mitigating the threat of diminishing access to the State University system."
Assemblyman Mark J. F. Schroeder, D-145th district, said, "This rational tuition policy will help students plan their finances more predictably, while at the same time improving the quality of the education that they receive. This bill will help UB and its students, and the City of Buffalo, compete in the 21st century."
Senator George D. Maziarz, R-62nd district, said, "This plan will help us achieve the UB 2020 vision, which has been a top priority for the Western New York delegation since before the beginning of the year. This is a key piece of the plan to help UB grow, and help the entire SUNY system retain its pre-eminent place among the nation's public university systems."
Senator Mark Grisanti, R-60th district, said, "The sensible tuition increase will include protection for low income families and is a catalyst to development in downtown Buffalo creating jobs and benefiting the university and region."
Senator Pat Gallivan, R-59th district, said, "Introduction of the Tuition Plus Program is another indication that Gov. Cuomo understands the concerns of Western New Yorkers and the challenges facing our region. UB is not merely an institution of higher learning; it is central to Western New York's economic future. The Tuition Plus Program is a positive step for the university and will give UB the tools and resources needed to move UB 2020 forward. For years we have been sold silver-bullet revitalization plans that have either failed to meet expectations, or been left on the drawing room floor. UB 2020 is a realistic and attainable economic development project. It has the potential to create thousands of jobs and position our region to attract businesses and compete in a 21st century global economy"
Senator Timothy Kennedy, D-58th district, said, "Western New Yorkers believe in the UB 2020 plan for its potential to create good-paying jobs and foster academic excellence and research discoveries. The governor's program bill is an important development that puts us closer to delivering real progress for our university and our region. It's an intelligent policy reform that will empower Western New York to make the UB 2020 vision a reality while maintaining the affordability of higher education. I commend the governor for his leadership, I embrace the legislation and I look forward to advancing it through the State Senate."
"UB's expansion plans, specifically relocating its medical school to downtown Buffalo, are vital to rebuilding the local economy and creating economic opportunity in our community," said Erie County Executive Chris Collins. "UB 202 has the potential to be a transformational project not only for downtown and the urban core, but for all of Erie County."