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SUNY Campus Presidents Ask State Legislature to Invest in SUNY

Jefferson Community College (JCC) President Carole A. McCoy and SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran today called on local elected officials to continue their leadership in supporting New York’s public higher education sector by creating a new Investment Fund and extending NYSUNY 2020 — including the broadly successful rational tuition policy — in the 2015-16 New York State Budget.

During a press briefing at East Hall on JCC’s campus, the two presidents advocated for all 64 SUNY campuses.

“Community colleges are integral to Chancellor Zimpher’s goal to increase the number of SUNY graduates from 93,000 to 150,000 annually. Thirty of SUNY’s 64 campuses are community colleges and together we enroll nearly 250,000 students statewide, providing job training and a pathway to baccalaureate degrees,” said Carole A. McCoy, president of Jefferson Community College.  “Our ability to provide access to quality higher education and services to help our students complete their degrees is dependent upon a strong partnership between SUNY and New York State. An investment in SUNY is an investment in Jefferson Community College and every community college within the system AND it is an investment in the vitality of New York State.  Support of the rational funding plan, capital funding and SUNY’s investment fund will allow community colleges like Jefferson to invest more resources into programs, facilities and services that help our students be successful.”

SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran said, “The State University of New York has been creating unparalleled opportunities for personal success and sustained economic growth for generations. With increased investment from the state, we can do even more. SUNY is committed to tripling the number of college graduates by 2020, and at SUNY Canton, more students will graduate from our career-based majors and enter the workforce ready to hit the ground running, adding value to their companies from day one. Our ability to continue to grow and give our students the very best education depends on additional state investment. We will offer new, innovative, hands-on programs that build on the strengths of our region. We will provide students from all backgrounds the tools they need to progress from the first day of class to graduation, careers, and beyond.”

Two other SUNY presidents, who were unable to attend the event, also voiced support for SUNY’s endeavors.

“I can’t think of a more critical investment than in the future leaders of New York State. SUNY Potsdam is proud to offer the Potsdam Promise, our guarantee that students can ‘finish in four’ — but we can’t stop there,” said SUNY Potsdam President Kristin G. Esterberg. “We are embarking on a new program that will ensure that every single SUNY Potsdam graduate has the opportunity to complete one or more high-impact learning experiences, like internships, research, service learning or study abroad. We have to make sure that students from all backgrounds can benefit from an affordable SUNY education, through EOP and student support services. An investment in SUNY can ensure that both our programs and our facilities are state-of-the-art, and that our campuses remain economic drivers for the North Country and beyond.”

Said SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley, “As we've found with our well-established Oswego Guarantee — our 'finish in four' model — students and their families appreciate having full information to plan out four years of college, including the expense. Renewing NYSUNY 2020 will continue to give them this stability. Students and their families realize the value of a SUNY education, thanks to past investments the state has made. We need to match their commitment by continuing to deliver a high-quality education: by investing in innovative experiential learning opportunities like Oswego's distinctive Global Laboratory, new degree programs that prepare our next-generation workforce, and new equipment and facilities. SUNY’s proposed Investment Fund will allow more New Yorkers than ever to earn degrees and contribute to our state's vibrant future.”

Since NYSUNY 2020 was first enacted, SUNY campuses have used additional revenue generated by rational tuition to grow and expand student services, including the hiring of 520 new instructional staff, 270 of whom are full-time faculty, and the implementation of 100 new degree programs reflecting high-demand areas in New York's workforce. Additionally, SUNY continues to be a huge economic driver for the state, serving 3 million New Yorkers every year — including students, faculty and staff, and more — and an economic powerhouse that generates $21 billion annually for New York.

The key component of SUNY's budget request is an Investment Fund that will enable SUNY to graduate 150,000 students annually by 2020 through the system-wide scale up of evidence-based programs known to support student success, including Finish in Four completion promises, applied learning, Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP), and expanded advisement services. SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher outlined this objective in her recent State of the University Address.  

David J. Zembiec, deputy CEO of the Jefferson County Economic Development Agency, also attended the news conference to speak in support of SUNY.

“Workforce development is one of our greatest challenges in economic development, and JCC and SUNY Canton — because of their flexibility and responsiveness — are key partners in addressing workforce needs,” Zembiec said. “We can also utilize college programs to create the workforce pipeline necessary to attract new business or grow our existing businesses through Start-Up NY.”

Pictured left to right: SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran, Jefferson Community College President Carole A. McCoy and David J. Zembiec, deputy CEO of the Jefferson County Economic Development Agency

About Jefferson Community College
One of 30 community colleges supervised by the State University of New York, Jefferson was chartered in 1961 and is accredited by the Middle States Association. Jefferson is the community’s leading resource for leading better lives, offering Associate degrees for career preparation or for transfer to a 4-year college, certificate programs; online learning; lifelong learning through personal enrichment workshops; business and industry training; and cultural enrichment opportunities for the entire Watertown/Fort Drum region.  It currently serves approximately 4,000 full- and part-time students from Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego and St. Lawrence counties, including a significant number of service members and their families from nearby Fort Drum.

 About SUNY Canton
SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, health, management and public service. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses, as well as ten exclusively online bachelor’s degrees. The college’s 14 athletic teams compete as provisional members of the NCAA Division III and the USCAA.