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SUNY Chancellor to enact competitive funding

By Jacob Fischler
On January 25, 2011

The State University of New York will focus its efforts on raising funds and cutting costs by sharing services amongst its campuses and introducing competitive funding between four-year institutions, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher said in her State of the University address Wednesday.

 "Clearly, public higher education stands at a crossroads," she said.

"Diminishing public investment, new demands on our resources and rapidly shifting economic sands require that we be increasingly agile and adaptable."

Starting in 2012, SUNY campuses will be allocated funds based on how they performed the previous year.       

Performance will be judged according to categories such as research expenditures and awards, student course completion, retention and degree completion, diversity of students and faculty, and degree programs that address workforce shortages and the needs of emerging industries.

Aid is generally doled out based on enrollment.

"We support the Chancellor's call for more flexibility in allowing the schools to generate the necessary resources to advance our core research and education mission," said UAlbany Provost Susan Phillips. "With the right forward thinking today, we can maintain our high academic profile and fulfill our potential to help drive the state's economy."

No exact formula has yet been crafted to determine how significantly each of these categories will effect funding.

To deal with the state's current fiscal woes (the debt is now estimated at around $10 billion) Zimpher outlined a few ways that SUNY could maintain the level of funding it needs without a vast change in tuition. Her plan calls for small incremental tuition increases over the next five years.

Tuition is currently $4,970 for in-state students.

"I want to be absolutely clear about our position on tuition policy: SUNY is committed to a fair, responsible and predictable tuition policy that maintains access to a quality higher-education experience," she said.

Several leaders of the SUNY Student Assembly attended Zimpher's first annual speech and they said that they liked what they heard.

"It's exciting that a five-year tuition plan is in the works," said Julie Gondar, president of the UNY Board of Trustees. "The reason students

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