Budget Successes and our Financial Outlook
April 14, 2022
To All Faculty and Staff,
I am writing to update you on various budget matters and to reflect on the successes that have come our way despite the many challenges we have individually and collectively faced in the past two years.
Having recently been named a flagship of the SUNY system by Governor Hochul, ours is a university that is going places. The flagship distinction increases Stony Brook’s visibility as a leader in healthcare and global research, and it will help us further enhance the education that our students receive.
Our financial outlook is improving, our faculty and staff are working across disciplines to attack some of the world’s most complex problems, and our research portfolio has grown. We are reimagining what it means to have accessible, high-quality healthcare, and we continue to make significant strides in helping students succeed in their academics as they become the leaders of tomorrow.
This gives us – collectively – a moment to consider what’s next for Stony Brook. How do we move forward as a leading national and international institution that focuses on teaching and research, arts and culture, business and industry, science and healthcare? We can and should be more ambitious in our collective work.
In order to improve our position, we must be more creative in how we seize opportunities to improve our financial viability as a top-tier public research institution and healthcare center. So, I want to share several pieces of good news about Stony Brook University’s financial position for 2022 and beyond, highlighted by recent developments around New York State’s support for higher education, increased congressional funding, and our new approach to budgeting.
First, leaders in Albany recently finalized the state budget. It contains increases in capital and financial aid funding, and provides opportunities to access strategic investment and faculty-hiring resources. The new state budget also includes debt relief for our hospitals. While specific details are still being analyzed, this is the first time in a long while that New York State leadership heard our call and made the decision to prioritize public higher education.
Next, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer once again has championed the fiscal cause of Stony Brook University, securing an impressive $10 million in congressionally directed spending that establishes the Long Island Network for Clinical and Translational Science (LINCATS) at Stony Brook. As the leader of LINCATS, our institution will guide a new, innovative network of regional biomedical research institutions that focus on ways to accelerate translational research and advance clinical care for a variety of physical and mental health conditions. We owe Sen. Schumer a huge “Thank You” for his ever-present and continuing support. We could not have accomplished this without him.
Additionally, I am proud to report that through an aggressive federal advocacy strategy led by Stony Brook's Office of Federal Relations in Washington, D.C., we have secured $30 million for specific Stony Brook research projects in 2022 federal appropriations with the assistance of the entire New York congressional delegation.
These examples represent just some of the results of what happens when we work together to strengthen Stony Brook’s position as a world-class university. When I became president in 2020, I made a commitment to our community to examine the entire budget process and look for creative ways to improve our overall financial sustainability. With help from faculty and staff, we launched the Strategic Budget Initiative and set out to achieve a substantial and sometimes daunting goal – to strengthen Stony Brook’s financial position and create a strong foundation for this university to build upon well into the future.
Since that launch, our community has worked diligently to contain costs, identify new ways to increase revenue, and remove internal barriers to our own success. I am pleased to report that as a result of your hard work and shared sacrifice, as well as a less than anticipated financial impact due to the pandemic, Stony Brook’s financial position has measurably improved. Just as in the past two years, the Office of Budget, Financial Planning and Analysis has shared updated information on sources of revenue and how those funds are spent. Please take some time to review the detailed information on this website where you can find the FY21 budget vs actual performance, as well as the finalized budget for our current year (FY21/22), and FAQ. You also have the opportunity to submit questions through the website.
Not only are we on a better financial trajectory, but as you may already know, we also are now in the midst of a new all-funds, multiyear approach to budgeting that ensures that we utilize all funds available toward supporting our priorities. As already noted, while the New York State budget is favorable to higher education in a variety of ways, we are in the third straight year of a tuition freeze and we did not get an increase in base operating aid. Accordingly, we must be mindful of our budgetary choices and responsibilities at this time and be thoughtful about the future sustainability of the commitments we make.
I understand that with this transition to the new Stony Brook University budget process comes a level of some uncertainty and a few questions. You can find more information here about the broader approach to budgeting and here about the new strategic hiring process.
This is an important juncture for Stony Brook University. Clearly, when we work collaboratively, partner on projects, and work shoulder to shoulder in a proactive way, the results strengthen our institution. I will continue to update the community on our financial standing as we move forward together. I wish you all the best as we head into the final stretch of the semester. Take care.