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Grisanti votes for SUNY 2020, job creation in Western New York

by jmaloni
Fri, Jun 24th 2011 10:10 pm

The New York State Senate today passed legislation to establish the NY-SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program, which includes capital funds for investments in economic expansion and job creation at the four SUNY University Centers, as well as a predictable and rational plan for SUNY tuition that will allow students and families to plan for tuition costs.

Senator Mark Grisanti sponsored the bill (S.5855), which represents a three-way agreement among the governor, Senate and Assembly.

"This program will create thousands of jobs in the Western New York area. I said months ago UB 2020 was not dead, and here we are today and it is alive," Grisanti, R-C-I, North Buffalo, said. " I am here to create jobs, jobs, jobs, and to bring people back to the state of New York. This bill will do just that."

"SUNY's University Centers are at the heart of economic development efforts in Western New York, the Southern Tier, the Capital Region and Long Island," Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos said. "This plan will help provide much-needed economic and capital investments in the SUNY centers to help them expand and create new jobs. It also has the additional benefit of providing a stable and predictable tuition so students won't see unpredictable spikes in SUNY tuition and can plan appropriately for their education."

Challenge Grant Program for Expansion and Economic Development

The four University Centers (Buffalo, Stony Brook, Binghamton and Albany) are eligible to apply to the governor and the SUNY chancellor for access to $140 million in capital funds. Of that total, $60 million comes from the current SUNY capital appropriation authority and $80 million comes from bonding through ESDC. The centers will submit their NY-SUNY 2020 plan for approval to the governor and chancellor. The plan shall include an economic and academic component. Each University Center shall receive an equal amount of $35 million.

Rational Tuition Policy

The bill authorizes SUNY trustees to increase tuition by up to $300 per year for five years. The five-year plan expires at the end of the 2015-16 academic year. In addition, SUNY trustees could also increase out-of-state undergraduate tuition up to 10 percent as well as additional fees at the four University Centers after the approval of their NY-SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant plan. CUNY is also authorized to increase tuition by up to $300 per year for five years.

The bill provides a tuition credit in an amount equal to a percentage of their TAP award multiplied by any increase in tuition more than $5,000. In addition, the four University Centers are required to use a portion of their tuition revenue for financial aid to receive NY-SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant plan approval. Those students, whose net taxable income is $80,000 or more, will also be eligible for financial aid at the centers pursuant to each center's plan.

The bill also requires the state to maintain financial support to SUNY from year to year.

The bill was sent to the Assembly.

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