Budget Updates and Our Financial Future
February 6, 2023
To Faculty and Staff,
I am writing to provide a mid-year update on our budget and to share other financial highlights from our state and federal partners that will continue Stony Brook’s forward momentum. Together we’ve accomplished much with our new all-funds, multi-year approach to budgeting that is providing the framework for a more strategic use of our resources in support of student success, research excellence, and first-rate patient care. I would like to highlight a few key areas summarized below:
Strategic Budget Initiative (SBI) Update–When we kicked off the SBI in October 2020, I invited you to join me in creating a strong foundation to support our future growth. Our shared goals were to stabilize the budget, fund strategic priorities, and create consistent, transparent processes and policies. We continue to implement the key SBI recommendations, which range from revenue-generating activities, like expanding our conference services, to better supporting our researchers by providing more extensive grant support. We also committed to replace Stony Brook’s legacy budgeting process with an all-funds model. It is working, and I am grateful to our budget team and all of you who have made this transition proceed smoothly.
SBU Budget Information–As we have been doing since my arrival, the University’s Budget and Finance teams provide updated information each spring on revenue sources and how funds are spent.
Most of our financial challenges are on the state purpose side, caused by unfunded but mandated contractual salary increases and other inflationary costs. We are still facing enrollment pressures from COVID-19, which have led to a significant loss in net tuition revenue (approximately $20 million annually) compared to the pre-pandemic era.
New York State Budget–While our campus budget remains tight, there is good news to share related to Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed New York State budget that was released on February 1. When Governor Hochul designated Stony Brook University as one of two New York flagships in 2022, she recognized our critical role in driving scientific advancement, clinical care, employment and socioeconomic mobility. At that time, she pledged to work closely with us to understand the resources necessary to advance our goals of moving into the top 25 public research universities nationally and doubling our research expenditures. Key proposals in her proposed budget that impact Stony Brook are noted below. I am grateful to Governor Hochul for her support and look forward to working with her, Chancellor John B. King, Jr., and our legislative leaders to bring these proposals to fruition:
1. Endowment Match–Creates the first New York State matching fund for contributions made to the endowments of the four university centers. The State will match on a 1:2 basis up to $500 million in endowment funds raised by the four university centers over a five-year period.
2. Transformation–Proposes significant investments in IT infrastructure and transformational initiatives that support innovation, meet workforce needs, and enhance student success. There is also $200 million in capital funding to be shared by Stony Brook and the University at Buffalo for new and renovated research buildings, labs, and state-of-the-art instrumentation.
3. Tuition–Authorizes a predictable tuition model that helps families plan for tuition. The proposal allows modest annual tuition increases across SUNY and CUNY indexed to the Higher Education Price Index or 3 percent and authorizes an additional increase for the university centers in recognition of their mission-driven higher cost structures. The budget also includes increases to TAP and Excelsior grants to keep pace with these tuition increases.
4. Capital–Provides an increase in capital funding for both renovation and new facilities.
5. Healthcare–Increases the disproportionate share cap and Medicaid reimbursement, which will enable our healthcare system to receive more appropriate compensation for the provision of safety net care.
While there is much to be optimistic about regarding the Governor's commitment to Stony Brook, the New York State budget will not be final until March 31.
Federal Budget–Through an aggressive federal advocacy strategy led by Stony Brook's Office of Federal Relations in Washington, D.C., we have secured $37 million in 2023 federal appropriations for specific Stony Brook research projects with the assistance of the New York congressional delegation with particular effort by U.S. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Additionally, thanks to Leader Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Stony Brook will be receiving $1 million in congressionally directed spending to establish the Long Island Quantum Internet Center, a crucial hub of quantum internet development in the United States. We are grateful for their tireless support.
Stipend Update–Finally, I would like to share that the University is raising the minimum, 10-month stipend for graduate, teaching, and research assistants to $26,000. This increase will take effect October 1, 2023 and places Stony Brook in the top quarter of public AAU institutions for graduate stipends. It also represents the largest increase in the minimum that Stony Brook has ever made, raising it by more than $3,000. More information will be forthcoming to academic departments and principal investigators.
Since our university’s budget planning process begins before the budget is finalized on March 31, I have asked our leaders to assume no new state operating aid and no increase in tuition as they develop their unit budget proposals. Should resources become available, we will use the information garnered from the budget planning process to make future investments. As the legislative process continues, I will share important updates with the campus community.
I remain encouraged and optimistic that, despite facing budgetary challenges, there are bright lights on the horizon. I continue in every way possible to advocate for the resources needed to advance our shared goals to realize our full potential as a flagship.