UAlbany Budget Updates
Message from President Philip on Wed, March 10, 2010
MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT GEORGE M. PHILIP
I am pleased to unveil the University at Albany's new website dedicated to raising awareness and educating our campus community about the "Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act." This educational website can be accessed by visiting www.albany.edu/empowerment
as well as from the University's homepage. The Empowerment and Innovation Act website will also provide you an opportunity to "get involved" to help advance what is being hailed as the most significant New York public higher education reform package in a generation.
In providing the University at Albany and the State University of New York with the autonomy and flexibility afforded to most institutions of higher learning across the country, this landmark reform legislation will enable SUNY and campuses like ours to take control of our future. It will allow us to generate new revenue, hire new faculty and researchers, foster new research and discovery and serve as engines for future economic growth and job creation.
Why is the legislation so essential to UAlbany's future?
In June 2008, the New York State Commission on Higher Education final report highlighted the chronic underfunding and overregulation that New York State public higher education had experienced for decades. This is particularly true at the University at Albany. Over the past 20 years, UAlbany has realized severe decreases in State assistance. Since FY 1989-90, State support to our campus "all funds budget has decreased from 43% to just under 16%.
During the same time period, the rate of tuition dramatically increased six (6) times from $1,350 to $4,970- a 268% increase. After accounting for State aid cuts, it is important to underscore that not a single dollar of the additional tuition increases over the past two decades has gone to benefit SUNY students and their families. Rather, the State of New York used these tuition increases to address State budget deficits resulting from a fiscal crisis or a downturn in the economy.
There appears to be no end in sight for the way New York State treats public higher education. Since FY 2008-09, UAlbany has suffered approximately $21.5 million in State aid cuts. Unfortunately, the outlook for the State University's future remains bleak. The FY 2010-11 Executive Budget proposes further State cuts to SUNY, and the billions of dollars in federal stimulus monies that currently support the State budget is scheduled for elimination beginning in FY 2011-12.
In order to ensure UAlbany's future and its ability to offer academic excellence, coupled with affordability and accessibility, a new paradigm for New York public higher education is vitally necessary.
To this end, the State University and the City University of New York have partnered to advance the "Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act" - a "no cost, high impact" reform package designed to put New York public higher education on an even playing field with peer institutions across the nation.
This pioneering legislation will provide the University at Albany and the State University with tuition flexibility while ensuring access and affordability - both hallmarks of SUNY - by holding harmless our traditional TAP population. In so doing, the University at Albany would - for the first time - be able to invest new tuition dollars into our academic programs for the benefit of our students. In addition, the reform package will provide procurement flexibility, land-use/land-lease authority, new construction delivery methodologies, and public-private partnership authorization that will offer an array of long overdue entrepreneurial opportunities and efficiencies for the University at Albany and other SUNY campuses.
In summary, the "Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act" is an historic opportunity to unshackle and transform the University at Albany and all of public higher education in New York State. In so doing, it will further accelerate the growth of the knowledge-based, innovation economy throughout the Capital Region and State of New York.
To learn more about this landmark reform legislation and how you can "get involved," I invite you to visit UAlbany's "Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act" website at www.albany.edu/empowerment
or email any questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org