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UAlbany and Capital Region Leaders Applaud Governor Cuomo for Championing Pioneering Legislation to Strengthen UAlbany and SUNY Campuses Across New York State

Coupled with the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program, “Rational Tuition” and “Tuition Plus” promise to build academic and research excellence at UAlbany while spurring job creation and economic growth throughout the Capital Region

Albany, N.Y. (June 9, 2011) -- University at Albany President George M. Philip, along with business and community leaders from across the Capital Region, praised New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo for introducing pioneering and necessary legislation to implement the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program, which calls for a fair, predictable, and responsible tuition policy over a five-year period for the State University of New York's (SUNY) State-operated campuses.

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 UAlbany/SUNY 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 tuition hikes over the past 20 years with the average increase equal to 20 percent.In each case, none of the new tuition dollars went to UAlbany or any of the SUNY campuses.  Instead of being invested in SUNY students' education, the tuition increases were swept by the State to address budget deficits during fiscally challenging times.

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, along with a "tuition plus" program permitting the four SUNY University Centers – including the University at Albany – to add an additional 3 percent.These new tuition monies will go directly into strengthening UAlbany's academic and research mission of excellence by fostering new learning, discovery and innovation and preparing students for life-long success. In so doing, the University at Albany will be able to leverage the Governor's NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program to spur job creation and economic growth throughout the Capital Region. UAlbany remains strongly committed to ensuring that access to a quality higher education remains affordable, and toward this end, will set aside up to one-third of the new tuition revenue for those students who are in most financial need.

University at Albany President George M. Philip said: "UAlbany supports and applauds Governor Cuomo's efforts to build upon the academic and research strengths of SUNY's campus, and in particular the four SUNY University Centers, to stimulate greater economic growth in New York State. The Governor's NYSUNY 2020 challenge grant program is an important initiative closely coupled with the need for rational tuition and tuition plus, which will allow the University at Albany to grow its academic enterprise, create new jobs, attract new research funding, and spur economic growth in the Capital Region. UAlbany pledges that along with tuition flexibility it will fulfill its responsibility to maintain accessibility to students with financial need."

This past year, over 250 business, government and community leaders from the greater Capital Region joined UAlbany in support of NYSUNY 2020 and the University's efforts to advance its strategic investment plan with tuition flexibility and other regulatory reforms. Today, a number of these leaders have come out in strong support of Governor Cuomo's pioneering legislation which will help to ensure a bright future for the University and the Capital Region.

U.S. Representative Paul D. Tonko (NY-21) said: "The University Centers of the State University System have long been regarded as engines of economic development. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his leadership in advancing the NYSUNY 2020 program and by introducing pioneering tuition legislation that provides the University Centers with critical regulatory relief. These measures will maximize UAlbany's ability to further grow its academic and research enterprises and spur job creation in the region for years to come."

NYS Senator Neil Breslin said: "I commend Governor Cuomo for his leadership for advancing a rational tuition plan and tuition plus program for the four University Centers. Coupled with the Governor's NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program, this initiative will go far to enrich the role the University at Albany plays in shaping young minds, fostering new learning, generating research and discovery, investing in new capital facilities – all of which create new jobs  and strengthen regional economic competitiveness by unleashing the power of UAlbany's academic and research enterprise."

NYS Senator Roy McDonald said: "Governor Cuomo is to be congratulated for introducing this legislation – a critically important component to the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program, which promises to be a major shot in the arm to the Capital Region's economy. Rational tuition and tuition plus will position the University at Albany to build upon its extraordinary track record by positioning the campus to create new jobs, generate new research and development funding, and invest in new construction. Together, this is a big win for the Capital Region that promises to help power our economy into the future."

NYS Senator Hugh Farley, a UAlbany alumnus and a retired faculty member who served for 35 years, said: "The University at Albany is the crown jewel of the SUNY System and its growth and vitality are of the greatest importance to the Capital Region. I congratulate Governor Cuomo for his leadership in developing the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program, and introducing this important legislation, which will allow the University at Albany to advance its growth plans. NYSUNY 2020, along with rational tuition and tuition plus, is terrific news for all who want to ensure that our Capital Region community has the highest-quality public higher education available and a strong and economically vibrant future."

NYS Assemblyman George Amedore said: “I wholeheartedly support Governor Cuomo's plan to reform the SUNY tuition process. This 'rational tuition' and 'tuition plus' bill will inject new life and stability into our own local research center, the University at Albany. The Capital Region deserves the type of economic, academic, and cultural change that an empowered UAlbany can deliver."

NYS Assemblyman Steven McLaughlin said: "The Governor has introduced much-needed legislation regarding the SUNY campuses, and I lend my full support to his initiative. Providing UAlbany with a revised tuition policy is a historic move that allows our SUNY families to better plan for the future. The additional revenue raised will enhance the student experience, as well as reenergize our region’s business climate. Without a doubt, this bill, coupled with the Governor’s NYSUNY 2020 program, is a top priority if we want to see positive and long-lasting change in the Capital Region."

Albany County Executive Michael Breslin said: "This rational tuition legislation for the four University Centers is forward-looking, and I salute Governor Cuomo for his vision for the future of UAlbany and SUNY. The legislation, paired with the Governor's NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program, will heighten the role of the University at Albany as a competitive and innovative academic and research center."

Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings said: "I congratulate Governor Cuomo for proposing a rational tuition plan for SUNY's four research centers. This legislation will enable the University at Albany to advance its plans to grow its academic enterprise and spur economic development for the City of Albany. When this bill is combined with the NYSUNY 2020 program, the University at Albany will be able to deliver on its promise to lead to the creation of new jobs, major capital investment and vital economic development for the All-America City of Albany."

Kathleen Jimino, Rensselaer County Executive, said: "I've witnessed first-hand how instrumental UAlbany has been for our region and economy, particularly through the education, research and workforce training based at UAlbany’s East Campus. I believe that Governor Cuomo's new tuition legislation, along with the NYSUNY 2020 program, will enable UAlbany to build on its successes and dramatically spur regional economic growth. I applaud the Governor's leadership in this critical area."

Martin Reid, Chairman of the Rensselaer County Legislature, said: "I offer my strongest endorsement for Governor Cuomo's NYSUNY 2020 program, along with the new tuition legislation he has proposed. These programs provide new opportunities for the University at Albany and the Capital Region to grow and prosper. UAlbany's East Campus has been an enormous economic success story for Rensselaer County, and I am confident UAlbany will have an even greater impact in the future."

Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian, said: "In Troy, we have been able to attract all kinds of advanced jobs in technology because of the well-educated workforce in and around the city.  SUNY Albany's inclusion as a University Center will have a major job creation and economic growth ripple effect from which Troy stands to benefit because of their plan to dedicate monies for research, development, and capital investment. I applaud Governor Cuomo's decision."

F. Michael Tucker, President and CEO of The Center for Economic Growth, said: "NYSUNY 2020 is a great opportunity for community stakeholders to come together in new ways to spur job creation and economic development.  In addition, CEG is excited to learn that Governor Cuomo has introduced a bill that would create a fair and responsible tuition policy for SUNY campuses.  We look forward to working with UAlbany and community partners to realize Governor Cuomo's vision for this new initiative."

Mark N. Eagan, President and CEO of the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce, said: "Governor Cuomo's NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program, in concert with his recently introduced rational tuition legislation, incentivizes key long-term economic development, planning and implementation for the University at Albany campus and the surrounding region. The Chamber applauds the Governor and looks forward to working with UAlbany in developing and realizing a plan that leads to continued economic growth for the Capital Region."

President of the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce Linda Hillman said: "We are very pleased to learn of Governor Cuomo's new legislation, which provides the University at Albany with a viable tuition plan.  In conjunction with the Governor's NYSUNY 2020 program, this new flexibility will have a tremendous and transformational impact on the University and our local communities."

Charles Steiner, President of the Chamber of Schenectady County, said: "We congratulate Governor Cuomo on his innovation initiatives to help our SUNY campuses.  In particular, his new groundbreaking rational tuition bill will allow the University at Albany to immediately begin enriching its academic mission and creating new jobs throughout the state."

Todd Shimkus, President of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, said: "Governor Cuomo's rational tuition and tuition plus plan is a historic and welcome initiative that promises to put the University at Albany on a trajectory to build on their research and academic strengths with the express purpose of revitalizing our regional economy."

Peter Aust, President of the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce, said: "Governor Cuomo’s landmark rational tuition bill is welcome news for our community. Along with his NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program, this legislation will enable the University at Albany to build on its academic and capital investments in ways that promise to revitalize our regional economy."

Michael Elmendorf, President and CEO of the Associated General Contractors of New York State, LLC, said: "Governor Cuomo's new Rational Tuition bill is welcome news to contractors throughout the state.  By providing the University at Albany and the other three University Centers with a predictable tuition policy, the Governor is enabling them to plan for their future, to invest in capital projects, and to generate research and development funding—all of which will generate a significant increase in business activity and job growth."

Jeff Stark, President of the Greater Capital Region Building and Construction Trades Council, said: "I applaud Governor Cuomo for advancing legislation that will implement a ‘rational tuition’ plan for SUNY campuses. This bill will enable our University Centers, like UAlbany, to invest in their academic and research missions, which will have a positive, ripple effect on economies throughout the State. In particular, the Capital Region will see a boom in new construction jobs as the University at Albany responds to the Governor’s pioneering initiative."

Michael J. Castellana, President and CEO of SEFCU, said: "As an alumnus of UAlbany, I applaud Governor Cuomo for recognizing the unprecedented opportunities before us to create a plan that would make the State University of New York a catalyst for economic growth here in Albany and across the state. I see his NYSUNY 2020 program and his pioneering rational tuition legislation as welcome first steps in expanding public/private partnerships that bring stakeholders together from across the region with UAlbany and the SUNY system to reopen New York to business."

Nancy E. Carey Cassidy, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Picotte Companies, said: "We are thrilled to hear about Governor Cuomo's new ‘Tuition Reform' legislation, which would provide the SUNY University Centers with the flexibility they need to revitalize our local economies.  As the University at Albany expands its academic and research enterprises under the auspices of this new tuition plan, commercial activity in the Capital Region will flourish."

Steven Boyle, President and Chief Executive Officer, St. Peter's Health Care Services, said: "Governor Cuomo's NYSUNY 2020 program, along with his tuition plan, will transform the University at Albany and greater community in many positive ways. These steps will enable UAlbany to add highly educated and well-rounded researchers and strengthen programs in biomedical sciences and human health. This will help ensure the region's future economic prosperity and well-being."

James J. Barba, President and CEO of Albany Medical Center, said: "Governor Cuomo's tuition reform bill, establishing the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program and providing regulatory relief, will have a positive impact for UAlbany and the other University Centers. These University Centers help strengthen regional economies, particularly in Albany where great potential exists for the expansion of biomedical jobs and research in collaboration with other engines for growth like Albany Med."

Jerel Golub, President and COO of Golub Corporation, said: "I applaud the Governor for introducing a new and groundbreaking 'Rational Tuition' plan for SUNY schools, as well as a 'Tuition Plus' program for its University Centers.  This critical legislation will ensure that our local public institution of higher education, the University at Albany, grows its academic mission, attracts new research funding, and injects economic growth into the Capital Region."

Robert M. Curley, New York Region Chairman, Berkshire Bank, said: "I am very pleased to learn about the Governor’s program bill regarding the NYSUNY 2020 challenge grant initiative and the ‘rational tuition plus plan’ that would afford UAlbany and the other University Centers with much-needed flexibilities that will help enhance their academic and research portfolios, while driving the region’s economy."

Daniel T. Pickett III, Chairman and CEO of nfrastructure, said: "I am fully supportive of Governor Cuomo's new ‘rational tuition' legislation. This bill, along with NYSUNY 2020 program, gives the University at Albany an excellent opportunity to improve its academic mission, create a highly-skilled workforce, and accelerate the knowledge-based, innovation economy throughout the region and the State of New York."

Dr. Timothy L. Lance,  President and Chair of NYSERNet, said: "I applaud the Governor for creating the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program and for introducing much needed tuition reform legislation for SUNY, and in particular for the University Centers including the University at Albany. The commitment of new financial resources, and even more importantly, the flexibility this legislation brings to the University Centers, enables a nimbleness at the University at Albany to make possible critical investments and leverage opportunities for accelerating the University's contribution to New York State's research and development infrastructure and to the State's standing as a national and international leader in information technology for the 21st century."

Jeffrey Lawrence, Executive Director for TechConnex, Center for Economic Growth, said: "I am delighted to hear that the Governor has introduced tuition reform legislation for SUNY, and especially that the proposal includes additional flexibility for the University Centers including the University Center at Albany. Coupled with the NYSUNY2020 Challenge Grant Program, these changes will provide a tremendous resource for technology start-ups and expansions throughout the Tech Valley region. In addition, we are very excited about the prospect of a new facility that will consolidate UAlbany's computer and information science resources and provide for partnerships, growth, and new initiatives."

Todd Little, Chair of Bioconnex, said: "We at Bioconnex are delighted to learn that the Governor has offered a tuition reform bill for SUNY, including special consideration for the University Centers like the University at Albany. The additional resources provided by this landmark legislation and the Governor's NYSUNY2020 Challenge Grant Program will be instrumental in realizing rapid growth, increased competitiveness for Federal R&D funds, and job creation for the Capital Region's biotechnology sector."

Deborah Buck, Executive Director of the NYS Forum, Inc., said: "By advancing this pioneering ‘rational tuition' legislation, Governor Cuomo is creating a pathway for the University at Albany to expand its academic programs and research centers.  We applaud his vision and look forward to the technological advancements and collaborations that will be possible as the University implements the Governor's initiatives."

Student Association President Zafir Uddin, said: "The University at Albany Student Association strongly endorses Governor Cuomo's leadership and support of a rational tuition policy. This legislation protects students and their families against steep and unpredictable tuition hikes, and safeguards tuition and financial aid programs as well. By placing tuition hikes in a regulated framework, students throughout the state will be better prepared to focus on the real rigors of their education and finding that job they've always dreamed about.

Canon Kay C. Hotaling '67, '70, President of the UAlbany Alumni Association, said: "The governor's innovative legislation, coupled with the provisions of NYSUNY 2020, will create the energy and resources to boost the academics and research quality and reputation of the University at Albany, and enhance the value of a global network of more than 150,000 living alumni."

Wayne A. Locust, UAlbany Vice Provost for Enrollment Management (including Financial Aid and EOP), said: "UAlbany is committed to assuring access for all qualified students and pledges to mitigate the effect of tuition increases for students with the greatest financial need. An amount equal to 30 percent a year will be set aside for need-based aid to undergraduate students who receive funds through the state's Tuition Assistance Program. A cooperative education career development program will complement the plan for enhanced tuition assistance. The governor's tuition proposal will enable  UAlbany to strengthen the student experience and assure support for students with high financial need."

Albany District Superintendent of Schools Raymond Colucciello said: "The city, the Capital District and the region will, through UAlbany, benefit from Governor Cuomo's support of rational tuition. The bill, coupled with the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program, will invigorate the University at Albany's academic and world-class research endeavors, and helps provide incentives to spur economic growth and innovation in the city and throughout the region."

Charles Dedrick, District Superintendent of Capital Region BOCES, said: "The NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program funding, coupled with the tuition reforms of the Governor's pioneering legislation, will enable UAlbany to immediately begin work on job creation and new capital initiatives that will benefit and invigorate the University and the Capital Region for years to come. UAlbany has a proven track record in workforce readiness, innovation and discovery, and economic development, which is helping to grow the greater Capital Region and Upstate economy."

Dr. Valerie Kelsey, Superintendent of the Schalmont Central School District, said: "I applaud Governor Cuomo's vision and efforts for tuition legislation and incentives of the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant. They will give our flagship institution UAlbany a boost in its research and academic enterprise, and our reward in the Capital and Upstate regions will be the acceleration of learning, community involvement, and economic innovation."

Michele L. Vennard, President and CEO of Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau said: "I congratulate the Governor for his foresight in advancing a tuition reform bill for SUNY and the University at Albany.  The enhanced resources provided by this legislation, together with the capital projects supported under the NYSUNY2020 Challenge Grant Program, are essential for developing the Region's capacity and attractiveness as a destination for conferences, conventions, and tourism."

Rocco Ferraro, Executive Director of the Capital District Regional Planning Commission, said: "I fully support the Governor's efforts to support the University at Albany and other SUNY campuses in their efforts to stimulate and strengthen Upstate New York's economy and quality of life.  The NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program, coupled with the proposed tuition reform legislation, will make a big difference over the next five years in adding to the region’s capacity for R&D and in helping to revitalize portions of the City of Albany. This is truly a transformational opportunity for UAlbany and for the Capital Region’s future prosperity."


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