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President Hefner pleased with Governor Paterson’s proposed reforms to public higher education
Friday, January 15, 2010

Governor David A. Paterson, in partnership with State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, today announced a proposal that, if approved by the New York State Legislature, would result in numerous, long-sought-after improvements to the SUNY system. These reforms, entitled, “The Public Higher Education Empowerment Act,” will provide the SUNY system with the tools needed to become a true center of job creation throughout the state, and provide the individual campuses with much-needed flexibility and stability, with the goals of creating a better public higher education system for the various university campuses as well as the nearly 465,000 students (and their families) which they serve.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher addresses the media during a press conference held at SUNY Fredonia in August 2009. The Chancellor has worked closely with numerous state lawmakers to educate them about the need for many of the changes contained in the proposal released by Governor Paterson on Jan. 15, 2010.

To read the complete details of the proposed reforms, click here.

The proposed reforms include the implementation of a fair, equitable and responsible tuition policy that will make the cost of an education more equitable and predictable for not only students and families, but also for university administrators, who can better plan for and manage their individual campuses. This will, in effect, take politics out of the tuition discussion, allowing the SUNY Board of Trustees to set its own tuition rates. It would do so, however, based on the Higher Education Pricing Index (HEPI) and under the constraints of a cap, which will keep potential tuition increases to a modest and manageable level, thereby providing financial security to students and families.
 
The reforms would also eliminate numerous over-regulations on contracting, procurement, land use, construction and other areas, while still maintaining appropriate accountability and state oversight.
 
“Like the rest of the state, public higher education must be allowed to be more innovative and nimble to survive in the present and thrive in the future,” said SUNY Fredonia President Dennis L. Hefner. “The reforms within this proposal would not cost the state a penny — but they would greatly help campuses address key issues in a timely manner.  I am grateful for Governor Paterson’s willingness to eliminate unnecessary and costly regulations and restrictions, and I am very pleased to see the strong collaboration between his and our Chancellor’s offices.”
 
The reforms all fall under a general category that Chancellor Zimpher described as “high-impact, zero-cost solutions” that are designed to create jobs, strengthen the state’s economy, and save taxpayers millions of dollars.
 
SUNY Fredonia’s Vice President for Administration Tracy S. Bennett, who oversees the campus’ budget, added, “This proposal gives the campus the fiscal stability necessary to permit good, long-term budgeting and planning. The proposed changes in this bill will assist us in being more efficient and responsive in meeting the needs of our students.”
 
To help ensure that these measures come to pass, please contact your New York State Legislative representatives, and tell them how important it is to you that they vote in favor of this proposed budget.

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