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For Immediate Release
February 15, 2019

Kowal to head panel on public higher ed funding

Frederick E. Kowal, Ph.D., president of United University Professions, will lead a panel focusing on the lack of state funding of public colleges and universities on Saturday, Feb. 16 in Albany.

The panel, titled “The Funding Equation for Public Higher Education,” is one of the workshops being held as part of the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators 48th Annual legislative conference. The conference runs through Feb. 17.

The discussion will be held at 3:30 p.m. in Meeting Room 5 in the Concourse of the Empire State Plaza in Albany.

UUP is the nation’s largest higher education union, representing 37,000 employees at SUNY state-operated campuses and public teaching hospitals.

Kowal will be joined on the panel by the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY President Barbara Bowen; Adesimisola Tijani, SUNY Student Association director of diversity, equity and inclusion; University Student Senate Chair Haris Khan; and Higher Education Services Corporation Acting President Guillermo Linares.

The panel will discuss the impact that state funding cuts and rising tuition rates have had on public higher education systems like SUNY.

Panelists will also consider the importance of SUNY’s successful opportunity programs and the need for more state funding so students—particularly black and Latino students, and students eligible for aid under the New York DREAM Act—have the opportunity for an affordable, accessible quality education at a public college or university.

SUNY’s state-operated campuses are still recovering from a series of devastating state funding cuts during the Great Recession, followed by several years of flat budgets. SUNY’s funding has dropped by nearly half since 2007-08.

Subsequently, cash-strapped campuses are hampered by the so-called “TAP gap”— a $62 million gap that SUNY schools must absorb to cover the difference between the state’s Tuition Assistance Program’s maximum award and what the state allots for the program. Rising costs for employee salaries and benefits, as well as ever-increasing operation and maintenance expenses, also present a challenge.

UUP is calling on the state to provide $65 million to help close the TAP gap.

Go to UUP’s website for more information about UUP’s legislative initiatives.

UUP is the nation's largest higher education union, with more than 42,000 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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