For Immediate Release
February 27, 2023
UUP President Frederick E. Kowal: “I urge you to provide the funding to stabilize our 19 campuses and teaching hospitals in this year’s budget.”
Kowal Emphasizes 19 Campuses are at a “Tipping Point” Due to State’s Disinvestment in SUNY
Today, Frederick E. Kowal, President of United University Professions (UUP), the nation’s largest higher education union, testified in front of the Joint Legislative Public Hearing on Higher Education, highlighting the crucial need for the state to immediately address more than a decade of inadequate state funding for SUNY.
Lack of funding and state support has significantly impacted 19 state-operated SUNY campuses and public teaching hospitals, threatening the long-term viability of the SUNY system, local communities, and the state’s economy.
Last year, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced her goal to revitalize SUNY and make it the best public higher education system in the nation. While UUP appreciates the increased funding provided in Gov. Hochul’s proposed 2023-2024 Executive Budget, it falls short of the investment SUNY campuses and teaching hospitals need to address their financial crises and continue to serve New Yorkers.
In response, UUP is requesting $160 million for the establishment of the State University Financially Distressed Campus Fund, a fund that would provide direct allocations to 19 campuses in financial jeopardy based on each campus’s structural deficit. UUP is also calling for a $110 million increase in general SUNY operating aid to enable campuses to invest in high-demand and growing programs, increase enrollment and remain academically competitive.
“Governor Hochul’s goal of revitalizing SUNY and making it the best public higher education system in the nation cannot happen when all but six of its campuses are in serious financial jeopardy. It was counterproductive for prior administrations to financially starve these campuses, which are a proven economic engine for the state and the communities they serve,” said Dr. Frederick E. Kowal, President of UUP. “With a surplus of $8.6 billion, the state has the resources to stabilize SUNY’s 19 campuses and hospitals. We urge Governor Hochul and state lawmakers to work together to provide the funding to stabilize our 19 campuses and teaching hospitals in this year’s budget.”
Currently, 1.78 million SUNY graduates work in New York and 34% of the state’s educated workforce has a SUNY degree. According to the 2018 Rockefeller Institute of Government report, SUNY’s annual economic impact on the state is nearly $29 billion, and every dollar invested in SUNY generates $8 in economic output. In most cases, SUNY campuses are the biggest employers in their communities.
Investing in SUNY is crucial for New York students, the thousands of faculty and staff who teach and work in these institutions, and the upstate communities they serve. For more information on UUP’s 2023 legislative agenda, visit:https://uupinfo.org/legislation/pdf/UUP23StateLegAgenda.pdf.