Overview

June 2011
With passage of the NY SUNY 2020 legislation, students and families will be able to properly plan for the cost of a college education in a predictable manner or the first time in the history of the State University of New York (SUNY), according to the office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. The NYSUNY 2020 plan will allow each State University of New York and City University of New York (SUNY and CUNY) campus to raise tuition by $300 per year for five years.

This plan replaces an era of dramatic tuition increases with a system that is predictable and empowers students and parents to plan for college expenses. For the past 20 years, the average annual SUNY tuition increase has been 6.7 percent, well above the five-year, $300 increases included in this legislation. During that time, there were periods without tuition increases followed by sudden and dramatic tuition spikes of up to 40 percent.

Such spikes and uncertainty in tuition is detrimental to students, families, and the university system. The NYSUNY 2020 legislation prevents these types of dramatic and unpredictable tuition hikes from reoccurring. The modest increases will help build these institutions into regional economic development generators and world-class centers of research and innovation. It will also allow schools to add more faculty, educate additional students, increase class offerings and improve graduation rates. The plan also allows students and parents to better plan for college expenses, and places SUNY at the center of New York's economic revitalization.

For the first time, SUNY and CUNY will guarantee tuition credits or discounts to students least able to afford tuition payments. In order to maintain affordability and access to higher education, the legislation provides tuition credits to students who are eligible to receive a TAP award.

Bill Summary
The bill will be delivered to the Governor within ten days, who is expected to sign it. The bill would implement the Governor’s NY-SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program Act, effective July 1, 2011 and the program would expire on July 1, 2016. The Act would:

· Authorize all SUNY and CUNY campuses to raise tuition by $300 annually for five years;

· Authorize the University Centers at Stony Brook, Albany, Binghamton and Buffalo to increase out-of-state tuition by ten percent annually for five years, subject to approval of the Challenge Grant application submitted by each campus;

· Require that the State maintain funding for SUNY and CUNY at no less than the level in the current fiscal year, unless the Governor declares a fiscal emergency;

· Authorize the University Centers to offer additional financial assistance to students whose net taxable income is more than $80,000, subject to approval of the Challenge Grant application submitted by each campus;

· Establish tuition credits, requiring SUNY and CUNY to apply a credit against the tuition charged to certain students. The credit would be based upon the student’s tuition assistance program (TAP) award and calculated by the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC);

· Require conflict of interest policies to be included in NY-SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program applications;

· Authorize the State to issue $80 million in bonds or notes to implement the capital program under the NY-SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program ($20 million per University Center campus);

· Allow the four University Center campuses to use $60 million in existing university wide appropriation authority for NY-SUNY 2020 projects ($15 million per University Center campus;

· Allow the University Centers to use existing appropriations and reappropriations to progress capital projects approved under the NY-SUNY 2020 program;

· Return tuition revenues generated through NY-SUNY 2020 to SUNY and CUNY campuses;

· Authorize the use of project labor agreements for capital construction projects approved under NY-SUNY 2020; and

· Require the SUNY Board of Trustees to study and report on the effectiveness of the TAP program, examining cost of undergraduate study, TAP eligibility criteria, award threshold levels and recommendations on how to improve the TAP program to maintain and enhance student affordability and access. It would further require annual reports detailing full-time faculty growth and study program availability under the NY-SUNY 2020 program.

Download bill text (Adobe PDF) »

Challenge Grant Application
The NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program - a joint program between the Governor and State University of New York (SUNY) - incentivizes bottom-up, individualized long-term economic development plans on SUNY campuses and the surrounding communities. It enhances SUNY's academic mission while maintaining affordability and places college campuses across New York at the center of the state's regionally-based economic revitalization strategy. The act authorizes $60 million in immediate capital for the four University Centers in Albany, Stony Brook, Binghamton and Buffalo.

President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, together with a number of high-profile Long Island business, labor, and community leaders, presented a comprehensive plan to Governor Andrew Cuomo and leaders of the State Legislature that would increase student access to the University, while creating thousands of well-paying jobs and enhancing health care services on Long Island.

The plan is the University’s application in response to Governor Cuomo’s NY SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant, an initiative designed to make the State University of New York a leading catalyst for job growth in New York State, while strengthening the academic and research programs at SUNY’s four University Centers: Stony Brook, Buffalo, Albany and Binghamton. The initial phase of the program focuses on a $35 million capital construction challenge grant that will be awarded to each Center upon approval of a detailed, long-term economic development and academic enrichment plan.  

MARTStony Brook’s SUNY 2020 application includes plans to build a new translational medical research building; hire additional faculty and staff; and, launch economic development partnerships with industry in the Long Island region. It would also give Stony Brook the ability to implement a predictable tuition program that will protect families from runaway tuition hikes and, at the same time, increase financial assistance for eligible students from families with an income of $75,000 or less.  
 
"This plan is not just about expanded research and economic development, although it accomplishes both of those goals," said Dr. Stanley. "Most importantly, it’s about increasing access to a quality education at Stony Brook. Students will be able to get the classes they need to graduate on time and we will be able to open our doors to 1,500 more students over the five year period of the plan. At the same time, we’ve made a commitment to increase our financial aid so that our most economically disadvantaged students will be protected against a tuition increase. Every student will benefit."

Read Governor's press release »

Read Stony Brook press release »


KEY DOCUMENTS:

CHallenge Grant Application
SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Application
(download PDF)