The New York State Senate passed legislation to establish the NY-SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program that includes capital funds for investments in economic expansion and job creation at the four SUNY University Centers, as well as a predictable and rational plan for SUNY tuition that will allow students and families to plan for tuition costs.
The bill (S.5855) represents a three-way agreement among the Governor, Senate and Assembly.
“This program will create new investments by the state, by students and by SUNY campuses so they will continue to be economic and job creation engines within their respective regions of the state,” Senator Kenneth LaValle (R-C-I, Port Jefferson), Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, said. “This bill will also ensure a continued level of state funding and will maintain access to SUNY for students pursuing their higher education at SUNY schools.”
“SUNY’s University Centers are at the heart of economic development efforts in Western New York, the Southern Tier, the Capital Region and Long Island,” Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos said. “This plan will help provide much-needed economic and capital investments in the SUNY centers to help them expand and create new jobs. It also has the additional benefit of providing a stable and predictable tuition so students won’t see unpredictable spikes in SUNY tuition and can plan appropriately for their education.”
CHALLENGE GRANT PROGRAM FOR EXPANSION AND
The four University Centers (Buffalo, Stony Brook, Binghamton & Albany) are eligible to apply to the Governor and the SUNY Chancellor for access to $140 million in capital funds. Of that total, $60 million comes from the current SUNY capital appropriation authority and $80 million comes from bonding through ESDC. The Centers will submit their NY-SUNY 2020 plan for approval to the Governor and Chancellor. The plan shall include an economic and academic component. Each University Center shall receive an equal amount of $35 million.
RATIONAL TUITION POLICY
The bill authorizes SUNY trustees to increase tuition by up to $300 per year for five years. The five year plan expires at the end of the 2015-16 academic year. In addition, SUNY trustees could also increase out of state undergraduate tuition up to 10 percent as well as additional fees at the four University Centers after the approval of their NY-SUNY 2020 Challenge grant plan. CUNY is also authorized to increase tuition by up to $300 per year for five years.
The bill provides a tuition credit in an amount equal to a percentage of their TAP award multiplied by any increase in tuition over $5,000. In addition, the four University Centers are required to use a portion of their tuition revenue for financial aid to receive NY-SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant plan approval. Those students, whose net taxable income is $80,000 or more will also be eligible for financial aid at the Centers pursuant to each Centers’ plan.
The bill also requires the State to maintain financial support to SUNY from year to year.