Leaders of Western New York SUNY campuses are calling on the New York State Legislature to 'Invest in SUNY'. They're urging state lawmakers to create a new, SUNY 'Investment Fund' that would help pay for faculty pay raises and offer predicable tuition. WBFO'S Eileen Buckley says as more students are faced with poverty, this could key in securing their college education.
Several of the SUNY school presidents appeared at Buffalo State College Thursday as one, unified voice to represent all 64-SUNY campuses. They were joined by SUNY Trustee Eunice Lewin.
"I'm so proud of the work our campuses have been doing to tell our story of student success, especially, here in my home, Western New York," said Lewin. "In order to deliver the broadest, possible access, the best change for competition and the greatest success, to the world-class institutions that New Yorkers deserve -- we need additional investment from the state."
Lewin referred to SUNY as an 'economic powerhouse' generating $21-billion annual for the state. The Investment Fund would allow SUNY to increase the number of students from 93,000 a year to 150,000 by the year 2020.
Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner hosted the SUNY leaders. Conway-Turner said investing in SUNY is good for students, local communities and the state.
"Buffalo State, like all SUNY campuses, must be ready to rely on adequate state appropriations, so that we can maintain a reasonable cost for students, offer strong, effective, relevant academic programs, address critical construction needs and provide this great state with exceptional future leaders that it deserves," said Conway-Turner.
Fredonia President Virginia Horvath said they are asking for 'predicable tuition' and funding for faculty and staff pay increases.
"We're asking the state to look at that so that families and campuses can budget effectively, so modest increases in tuition," stated Horvath. "And one of the things that SUNY is asking for is maintenance of effort to cover the negotiated salary increases that our faculty and staff so much deserve."
Jamestown Community College President Cory Duckworth said his students are struggling with tuition costs.
"So I'm here to plead on behalf of the students, that the state would step up and would fund the base tuition for community college in particular, but for all students across the state of New York, so they can move forward," said Duckworth.