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For Immediate Release
November 10, 2022


Massive Deficits Loom Over SUNY Plattsburgh ($7.8M), SUNY Canton ($5.5M) and SUNY Potsdam ($5.5M)

Advocates, Lawmakers, and UUP President Kowal Call for New York to Fully Fund SUNY Campuses in the North Country

PLATTSBURGH, NY – United University Professions (UUP), the nation’s largest higher education union, rallied today in Plattsburgh to highlight massive projected operating deficits at several SUNY campuses, which threaten the viability of public higher education in the North Country and the economic future of the surrounding communities.

UUP President Frederick E. Kowal joined state Assemblyman Billy Jones, Clinton County Treasurer Kimberly Davis and Clinton County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ben Dixon at SUNY Plattsburgh to reiterate the critical and immediate need to reverse multimillion-dollar deficits plaguing SUNY campuses in the North Country. For the current fiscal year, SUNY Plattsburgh faces a $7.8 million projected deficit, while SUNY Canton faces a $5.5 million projected deficit, and SUNY Potsdam faces a $5.5 million projected deficit.

“SUNY campuses are under untenable pressure, and Albany needs to act immediately to alleviate the financial burden that has been placed on students. Campuses cannot sustain themselves by relying on students to foot the bill while New York state looks the other way,” said Kowal. “Failure to provide adequate funding is an imminent threat to the viability of the SUNY system, and the affordable, quality education it provides. It is long overdue that New York’s leaders and lawmakers provide the necessary funding to ensure that every New Yorker can access quality higher education from our public university system.”

“Education and workforce development is a major priority for our community and communities like the City of Plattsburgh. As most of our state and federal elected officials recognize, increased funding for institutions like SUNY Plattsburgh is critical to ensure we continue to train and educate our residents, students, and the next generation of workforce talent,” said Plattsburgh Mayor Christopher C. Rosenquest. “The Plattsburgh Next strategic plan addresses the need for improved services, educational programs, and increased student enrollment. Additional funding for this initiative and to cover the number of unfunded mandates is absolutely necessary. SUNY Plattsburgh plays a vital economic and workforce development role not only within the City and County, but also in the state."

“Once again, we are asking that our students in the North Country are given the opportunity to have a high-quality education. The SUNY system is in desperate financial need and it is time we give our schools the tools and resources they need to set our students up for success,” said Assemblyman Billy Jones. “As we approach the start of the 2023 Legislative Session, I will advocate for more funding for SUNY in next year’s budget to support our future generation of leaders.”

“As the CFO of Clinton County and as an alum, I am keenly aware of the positive local impact that SUNY Plattsburgh has on the local economy,” said Clinton County Treasurer Kimberly Davis. “According to the latest SUNY Plattsburgh Community Impact Report, total tax revenue generated by SUNY Plattsburgh’s activities total more than $56 million per year, and an additional $45.6 million of income and 160 jobs arise because of the education attainment of SUNY Plattsburgh graduates. SUNY Plattsburgh student volunteers provide thousands of hours of work for nonprofits and the public sector, through programs like Project HELP, valued at $1.3 million. Students cannot continue to be saddled with enormous debt upon graduation – New York State needs to do more!”

The North Country boasts the highest population of SUNY students, alumni, and employees of all New York state regions. SUNY’s presence in the North Country is a key driver of economic growth in surrounding communities, supporting more than 6,500 jobs in the region with an output impact of $780 million. More than 7 out of every 10 college degrees awarded in the North Country are provided by SUNY, which substantially contributes to an educated and skilled workforce.

Boosting operating aid for state-operated campuses is a pivotal and essential first step to protecting affordable public education and jobs, and transposing the state’s decades-long disinvestment in SUNY. UUP and other leaders will continue to urge state lawmakers to fully fund SUNY campuses facing multimillion-dollar budget deficits at a series of rallies across the state this fall.

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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