University’s 2020 Initiative Set To Energize Region
Senator William T. Stachowski (D-C, Lake View) announced the New York State Senate today passed legislation (S.2020-C) he sponsored that will give the University at Buffalo greater flexibility and autonomy in leasing, contracting, tuition and the overall daily operation of the University.
Known as the "UB 2020 Flexibility and Economic Growth Act," the bill provides regulatory relief to the University at Buffalo (UB) in the areas of tuition policy, capital project financing, construction delivery, land acquisition and disposition, public-private partnerships, and procurement of goods and services. These changes would enhance the University at Buffalo’s academic standing and its capacity to serve as a catalyst to
stimulate the Western New York economy.
“Current policies interfere with the way institutions can do business,” said Senator Stachowski. “Relief from burdensome rules like being prevented from partnering with the private sector would save taxpayers money and keep us competitive with other state systems and public research universities. “For example, by using the methods called for in this bill, we will be able save taxpayers $22 million for construction of a UB-Kaleida Health global vascular research building to be constructed in downtown Buffalo this year.”
University of Buffalo President, John B. Simpson, said "This is tremendous news or UB and our region. We’re deeply grateful to Senator Stachowski for his steadfast support through his sponsorship of the bill, which has been pivotal to its progress through the Senate. Senator Stachowski has consistently been a strong and vocal advocate for the vital role that UB plays in transforming our region and state. His willingness to champion UB 2020 as the path to a strong knowledge economy will go a long way toward extending and deepening the university’s impact on our larger communities throughout the region and state.”
Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith said, “When fully implemented, the positive economic impact of UB 2020 will mean great things for the Western New York economy. We’re talking about as many as 10,000 long term new jobs, and hundreds of millions pumping into the economy that can be used to attract new businesses and investments across every sector. Senator Stachowski deserves credit for working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, as well as the incredible UB leadership, to develop legislation that will help the university and the region grow.”
Among the reforms proposed by the bill, UB would be allowed to implement a rational tuition policy whereby the university retains revenues from small increases in
tuition. These revenues would be used to fund campus expansion and fund a 20 percent increase in financial aid available to students, providing a sizable increase in financial aid currently available to students through the state’s Tuition Assistance Program.
“The bill will help improve educational access for economically disadvantaged students while also allowing UB to pursue its goals to be an even larger economic engine for the region,” Stachowski noted.
In addition, the legislation would provide UB with flexibility in spending and contracting, access to capital markets and the ability to lease and purchase land and facilities. These reforms would give UB the financial flexibility needed to pursue growth strategies commonly used by other large research universities nationwide.
Achieving UB 2020 is projected to increase UB's economic impact on Western New York from $1.7 billion to $3.6 billion annually, and will create well over 10,000 jobs in a variety of sectors -- in information technology, maintenance/custodial/trade, clerical, faculty and professional administrators, and technical and research support.
More than 30 of New York State's most prominent and influential business, labor, community and university groups support the UB 2020 initiative as the region's best strategy for economic development and regional job creation.
Supporting the UB 2020 efforts are the Buffalo Building and Construction Trades Council, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Amherst Chamber of Commerce, the City of Buffalo, Erie County, Town of Amherst, United Autoworkers, Kaleida Health, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the Board of Block Clubs, United Way, Oishei Foundation, the UB Undergraduate Student Association, UB Faculty Senate and UB Parent Association.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.
Under the current economic climate, New York State must develop a globally competitive, diversified economy. As New York's leading public research university, the provisions detailed in this legislation will transform the university at Buffalo into a model twenty-first century public university. This transformation will reinvigorate the Western New York region, spur the local economy and improve the quality of life of
The bill was sent to the Assembly.