SUNY presidents advocate for increased funding

The State University of New York system is approaching the 2015-2016 school year with a budget request to increase investment and funding over a span of projects, some of which will affect Geneseo directly. These efforts seek to increase both access completion and the number of graduates in the statewide system.

The overall request includes areas of investment that will improve various programs such as Educational Opportunity Programs, Finish in Four, Quantway/Statway remedial pathways, advisement and applied learning. EOP––which includes academic and financial aid along with applied learning programs such as study abroad, internships and research––will most greatly impact the Geneseo campus if the budget is passed.

“We have one of the highest retention rates for graduates, which means the bulk of these requests are not directed at Geneseo,” interim President Carol Long said. “Applied learning is very broad, however, and we may be able to apply for invested funds under that category.”

In addition to these investments, SUNY wishes to have the state legislature extend the Rational Tuition Policy, which currently runs until 2016. This extension would allow for another five years of raising tuition SUNY-wide.

“Personally, I believe it would be best to raise [Tuition Assistance Program] aid rather than raise tuition,” Long said. “But that is not what SUNY is looking for.”

Long attended a conference at Monroe Community College on Monday March 2 to highlight these budget requests and the importance their impact could have on the SUNY system. She focused on the diversity between campuses and how an increase in budget could further define these unique yet communal aspects of each college.

“SUNY is a great thing to invest in for the state,” she said. “It’s a highly diverse system of 64 campuses, each with a different specialty and mission.”

The conference grouped regional leaders like Long together in order to garner support and elaborate on the mission behind SUNY’s budget request.

“All of our campuses aim to educate socially responsible citizens, and we therefore contribute to civil society with all of our educational efforts,” she said. “The great public benefit that comes from a system like SUNY really has to do with the society broadly in which we live.”