On Valentine’s Day, United University Professions leaders and supporters will be in Albany for a day-long lobbying effort called “Love Your SUNY.”
SUNY professors, students, staff and supporters are calling for a “fully-invested” SUNY fund in the 2024 FY budget.
“The Executive Budget, if enacted, would be a flat budget for our comprehensive and technical campuses,” says UUP President Dr. Frederick Kowal. “SUNY has 19 state-operated campuses which are in fiscal crisis, with projected or structural multimillion-dollar deficits. The Executive Budget provides no funding to stabilize them.”
The 2023-2024 proposed budget includes a $75 million transformative initiative to expand enrollment and a $200 million in capital funding for “new and renovated research buildings, laboratories, and state-of-the-art instrumentation at SUNY’s flagship institutions, Stony Brook University and the University at Buffalo,” according to the governor’s budget book.
However, many SUNY schools still struggle with day-to-day operation due to their internal budget deficits.
The enrollment rate at SUNY campuses has been dropped significantly over the past decade, in the wake of the 2008 financial recession, dropping 10 percent alone since the beginning of COVID-19. Since the current projected budget does not directly offset these tuition deficits, many are worried about SUNY’s “ability to provide access and a quality education,” according to the SUNY website.
“We cannot force our campuses to return to relying on tuition increases as their main revenue source,” Kowal said. “UUP has called for a $160 million distressed campus fund to help these campuses recover from decades of state underfunding and the impact of the pandemic.”