Jan. 24, 2017

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Kowal makes case for more full-time faculty, SUNY hospitals

uupdate 1-24-17

CLICK HERE for press release: UUP calls on Legislature for more full-time faculty, hospital aid

CLICK HERE for UUP testimony

UUP President Fred Kowal urged lawmakers to resolve a need for more full-time faculty, a situation that threatens to become much worse if not addressed soon.

Kowal, who testified at a Jan. 24 public hearing conducted by the Legislature's joint fiscal committee, asked for $30 million for the first year of a five-year program to boost SUNY's full-time faculty by 1,500.

Twenty years ago, SUNY had 10,300 full-time faculty to teach 185,000 students. Now, the University has only 8,700 full-time faculty to instruct 220,000 students. And that gap would grow if the governor's free tuition program, which could cause an immediate spike in enrollment, is adopted.

“This investment in SUNY is crucial to the survival of many of our campuses and to the future viability of the entire system,” said Kowal. “Let’s ditch the duct tape-approach to these long-standing concerns and apply real, permanent fixes that will benefit SUNY students and ensure that the University continues as a world-class center of learning.”

Kowal also urged lawmakers to allocate an additional $50 million as the first step in a multi- year plan to restore some of the $684 million cut during the Great Recession. State support dropped from 1.32 billion in 2007-08 to less than 680 million this year, a decrease of more than 50 percent, Kowal said.

More support for hospitals, opportunity programs

Legislators listened intently as Kowal pressed them to restore funds to for SUNY's Educational Opportunity Centers and Educational Opportunity Programs. Both programs were hit with reductions in the governor’s Executive Budget proposal.

SUNY’s three state-run hospitals also face a potential crisis if the Affordable Care Act is repealed without an adequate replacement, Kowal said.

“This would mean that the state-operated hospitals could see a dramatic upsurge of uninsured patients without the ability to pay for health care. Up to 2.7 million New Yorkers could lose health care coverage of the ACA is repealed,” Kowal said.

He urged lawmakers to restore the state hospital subsidy to its former height of $154 million. The governor, in his Executive Budget, proposes slashing the subsidy to $69 million.

Kowal also proposed a new $600 million state hospital capital program, $200 million for each hospital.

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