UB2020 overwhelmingly approved in Senate

The New York State Senate today passed “UB 2020”  legislation that supports the University at Buffalo’s strategic plan to encourage economic growth and create jobs in Western New York.  The bill benefits students, families and the economy of the entire region.

Senator George Maziarz said, “We are following through on an issue that a bipartisan group of legislators and the vast majority of people we represent back home have identified as a top priority for Western New York.  We are united in our belief that the UB 2020 vision is critical for growth of higher education and economic development in our region.”

The bill (S.3143A) is co-sponsored by Senators George Maziarz (R-C, Newfane),  Patrick Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma), Michael Ranzenhofer (R-C-I, Amherst) and Timothy Kennedy (D, Buffalo).  The legislation, entitled the “UB 2020 Flexibility and Economic Growth Act,” represents their ongoing commitment to the Western New York community and to improving public higher education.

The bill would give the University at Buffalo  the opportunity to create a tuition policy that is fair, responsible and predictable and enable the school to use tuition revenue to pursue the UB 2020 plan for academic excellence while at the same time protecting students’ access to high-quality education, especially for the state’s neediest students.

The bill proposes reforms to state law that will provide UB with the tools needed to move forward with the UB 2020 plan, a project that is expected to have a positive impact on Western New York, particularly downtown Buffalo with the creation of thousands of jobs in the construction and higher education industries.

UB 2020 has earned widespread support throughout the region because of its potential to spur economic development and create jobs over the next several years.  The reforms are needed to provide students with access to world-class higher education that provides them the ability to achieve academic excellence.

Specifically, the bill allows the University at Buffalo to establish differential tuition rates starting with the 2011-2012 academic year.  The rates would be limited based on averages from other peer institutions and a semester undergraduate limit of $375 and annual graduate limit of 15%. The money raised from tuition increases would be used for financial aid programs at the University at Buffalo to ensure that no family making less than $60,000 a year would feel the effect of the tuition increase; as well as for other University at Buffalo programs.

In addition, the bill provides maximum flexibility to the University at Buffalo for future capital projects on its three campuses by allowing capital project financing to proceed through campus-related nonprofit organizations, which would be allowed to procure financing through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York.

The bill was sent to the Assembly.