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UAlbany and Capital Region Applaud Governor, Legislative Leaders, Chancellor Zimpher and Local Delegation for NYSUNY 2020 Act

NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program Act promises to build academic and student excellence at UAlbany while spurring research and discovery, job creation, and economic growth throughout the Capital Region and Empire State

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 24, 2011) -- Today, University at Albany President George Philip praised New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, and the entire Capital Region Delegation for their leadership in championing the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Act into law. This pioneering legislation calls for historic public higher education reform including a fair, predictable, and responsible tuition policy for SUNY campuses, which will help build UAlbany and drive economic growth across the greater Capital Region and State of New York.

For the first time in its history, SUNY will be afforded new flexibilities including a “rational” tuition structure, which will provide students and families with an opportunity to properly plan for the cost of a UAlbany/SUNY college education. Over the last two decades, tuition has dramatically spiked six times with increases reaching as high as $950 in a given year. Instead of being invested in SUNY students' education, tuition increases have been “swept” by the State to address budget deficits during fiscally challenging times. This legislation goes far to correct the historical inequities associated with past, irrational tuition hikes by providing a modest $300 increase per year over the next five years, while requiring the state to fund SUNY at an amount no less than the previous year.

Of particular importance, this legislation will provide students with high financial need with a new TAP credit to cover tuition increases in the future in order to ensure that access remains a hallmark of UAlbany and the State University of New York.

Under the NYSUNY 2020 Act, the University at Albany will also be able to compete for up to $35 million in seed funding to develop critically important capital priorities that will enhance its world-class academic and research enterprise and drive job creation and regional economic growth.

The NYSUNY 2020 Act – which includes essential operating and capital flexibility – will enable UAlbany to go far in bolstering its mission of excellence by fostering new learning, advancing innovation and discovery, and preparing students for lifelong success.

University at Albany President George Philip said: "UAlbany applauds Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Skelos, Assembly Speaker Silver, SUNY Chancellor Zimpher, and our entire Capital Region Legislative Delegation for their vision, leadership and commitment to bringing about the NYSUNY 2020 Act. This much-needed university and economic development reform will enhance the academic and research enterprise of the University at Albany and SUNY campuses across the State, while ensuring that access and affordability are protected for all students in pursuit of a SUNY education. Through NYSUNY 2020, UAlbany will be able to strengthen the academic and student experience, foster new research and discovery, and spur economic growth for a stronger and more vibrant Capital Region and Empire State.

“I am particularly appreciative of the tremendous outpouring of support from UAlbany students, faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as our countless friends and partners across the greater Capital Region. Over the past year, thousands of UAlbany supporters have joined together to support the reforms included in NYSUNY 2020. This support has been instrumental in advancing this legislation, which will ensure a brighter future for the University at Albany and our entire region.”

U.S. Representative Paul D. Tonko (NY-21) said: "I applaud Governor Cuomo and Chancellor Zimpher for their leadership in advancing the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program, and commend our state’s leaders and both houses of the State Legislature for approving pioneering and much-needed tuition reform. Here at home, the University at Albany – our flagship public research university – will be well positioned to further grow its academic and research enterprise and spur job creation and economic growth in the greater Capital Region for many years to come."

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. I also praise SUNY Chancellor Zimpher, the State Leaders, and the Capital Region Delegation for their unwavering support. 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 shepherding through a rational tuition plan for SUNY's four research centers and the State Leaders for adopting this much-needed reform. 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 this legislation will enable UAlbany to build on its successes and dramatically spur regional economic growth that is vital to the creation of jobs."

Martin Reid, Chairman of the Rensselaer County Legislature, said: "I offer my congratulations to Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature for enacting NYSUNY 2020. This legislation provides 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, under this reform, 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. As a University Center SUNY Albany's inclusion 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 the leadership of Governor Cuomo, Chancellor Zimpher, and the State Legislature."

F. Michael Tucker, President and CEO of The Center for Economic Growth, said: "The Center for Economic Growth is excited to learn that Governor Cuomo’s bill to create a fair and responsible tuition policy for SUNY campuses was adopted by the State Legislature. We look forward to working with UAlbany and community partners to realize Governor Cuomo's and SUNY Chancellor Zimpher’s vision for the NYSUNY 2020 initiative, which is a great opportunity for community stakeholders to come together in new ways to spur job creation and economic development."

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 this enabling 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 State legislative leaders and looks forward to working with UAlbany in developing and realizing a plan that leads to continued economic growth for the Capital Region."

Linda Hillman, President of the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce said: "We are very pleased to learn of the passage of Governor Cuomo's new legislation, which provides the University at Albany with key reforms. 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, Speaker Silver and Majority Leader Skelos on the NYSUNY 2020 legislation to help our SUNY campuses. In particular, the new groundbreaking rational tuition plan 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 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 NYSUNY 2020 Act is welcome news for our community. Along with his 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, Senate Majority Leader Skelos, Assembly Speaker Silver and the entire State Legislature are to be congratulated for their leadership in successfully advancing NYSUNY 2020. This is welcome news to the University at Albany and SUNY campuses across the State who will now be able to implement a fair, equitable and responsible tuition policy – without the dramatic and irrational tuition hikes of the past. This legislation will enable UAlbany and the other University Centers to grow their academic and research enterprise, and at the same time, advance critically important capital construction in the years ahead."

Jeff Stark, President of the Greater Capital Region Building and Construction Trades Council, said: "I applaud Governor Cuomo, Majority Leader Skelos and Speaker Silver, and members in both houses for enacting NYSUNY 2020 which establishes key flexibilities for SUNY campuses. This measure will enable UAlbany and other SUNY institutions to invest in their academic and research missions, which will have a positive, rippling effect on the State’s economic well-being in the future. Furthermore, this legislation will enable the Capital Region to see a boom in new construction jobs as the University at Albany responds to the Governor’s pioneering NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program."

Michael J. Castellana, President and CEO of SEFCU, said: "As an alumnus of UAlbany, I applaud Governor Cuomo and SUNY Chancellor Zimpher 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 the NYSUNY 2020 program and its rational tuition plan 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 learn that Governor Cuomo's NYSUNY 2020 Act was adopted by the State Legislature. This reform will 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 reform, 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 Act, which includes a rational 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 recently approved landmark legislation provides the regulatory relief and flexibility to fuel the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program and 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."

Robert M. Curley, New York Region Chairman, Berkshire Bank, said: "I am very pleased about the passage of the legislation today providing for a new rational tuition plan and flexibilities that will 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 very pleased to learn that Governor Cuomo's NYSUNY 2020 legislation was approved by the State Legislature. This bill 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."

Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, Bishop of Albany, said: “I am very pleased to hear that the NYSUNY 2020 program and attendant legislation will go far to provide the SUNY University Centers, including UAlbany, with the flexibilities they need to enhance the quality of the academic experience for students and foster economic growth in their surrounding communities. I commend the Governor, SUNY Chancellor Zimpher, and State legislative leaders for advancing this important initiative.”

Dr. Timothy L. Lance, President and Chair of NYSERNet, said: "I congratulate the Governor for spearheading the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program Act 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’s NYSUNY 2020 Act, including additional flexibility for the University at Albany and the other University Centers, was adopted. 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’s NYSUNY 2020 bill, including special consideration for the University Centers like the University at Albany, received the support of the State Legislature and was adopted. The additional resources provided by this landmark legislation 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' plan under NYSUNY 2020, 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 congratulates Governor Cuomo, SUNY Chancellor Zimpher, and the State Legislature for their support and the passage of NYSUNY 2020, which includes 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.”

Susanna Fessler, Chair-Elect of UAlbany University Senate, said: “We proudly note the extraordinary contributions of our University to the economic and intellectual well-being of the Capital Region and New York State in spite of increasingly constrained resources. The NYSUNY 2020 Act will enable UAlbany to expand the range and depth of its academic offerings and significantly enhance its contribution to the Capital Region’s economy. As importantly, the quality education that UAlbany provides will remain affordable for all New Yorkers.”

Susan D. Phillips, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs (oversees Financial Aid and EOP), said: "We commend the Governor, SUNY Chancellor Zimpher and the State Legislature for implementing a fair, equitable and responsible tuition plan that protects access and affordability for all New Yorkers.  Under the financial aid provisions in the legislation, UAlbany will be able to ensure that all qualified students in need of financial assistance are able to pursue a college education."

Canon Kay C. Hotaling '67, '70, President of the UAlbany Alumni Association, said: "The governor's innovative legislation, called 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."

City School District of Albany Superintendent of Schools Raymond Colucciello, Ed.D., said: "The city, the Capital District and the region will, through UAlbany, benefit from Governor Cuomo's recently adopted NYSUNY 2020 Act. The bill 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 Act 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."

Michele L. Vennard, President and CEO of Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said: "I congratulate the Governor for his foresight in advancing a vitally important reform bill for SUNY and the University at Albany and our State Leaders for enacting it. The enhanced resources provided by this legislation, together with the capital projects supported under NYSUNY 2020, 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 Act 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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