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CONTACT: Mike Lisi (518) 640-6600
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Nov. 12, 2015

UUP: Performance-based funding would harm SUNY students, campuses

ALBANY – The president of the nation’s largest higher education union is urging the State University of New York to drop its Investment and Performance Fund, saying it would be harmful to SUNY and its state-operated campuses.

“As currently implemented, this program reallocates funds meant for all SUNY campuses to a select few, creating winners and losers and pitting departments, programs and campuses against each other,” said United University Professions President Frederick E. Kowal, Ph.D.

In its 2016-17 budget request, SUNY is asking the state for $32 million more for the performance-based funding plan, which may tie state funding to specific performance metrics for SUNY campuses. The program received $18 million in the 2015-16 state budget, but the fund ballooned by $100 million when SUNY—on its own—drained money from other resources.

Now, SUNY wants more, and UUP believes that further padding the fund is a waste of state dollars. The Investment and Performance Fund would require campuses to meet certain criteria to be eligible to receive additional state funding.

“With only 36 percent of SUNY’s funding now coming from state coffers, we are concerned that the expansion of performance-based funding would be a poor use of scarce resources,” Kowal said.

As an example, Kowal pointed to additional 2015-16 state budget funds for SUNY’s Educational Opportunity Program—which provides academic support and financial aid to eligible low-income students who want to attend college. Under performance-based funding, the increased EOP funds would be allotted to a few arbitrarily selected campuses. EOP programs at other campuses would be shut out of this funding.

“We must ensure that every SUNY campus and every SUNY student has access to programs supported by tax dollars—not just a select few,” Kowal said. “SUNY must be fully funded to provide a quality public higher education for all New Yorkers.”

UUP is the nation's largest higher education union, with more than 37,000 academic and professional faculty and retirees. UUP members work at 29 New York state-operated campuses, including SUNY’s public teaching hospitals and health science centers in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse. It is an affiliate of NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the AFL-CIO.


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