Reforms would help SUNY and CUNY

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Governor David Paterson has proposed reforms to public higher education that would include State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) becoming “centers of job creation.”

“Currently, Albany micromanages everything from the chalk campuses purchase to the cost of tuition that students pay,” Paterson said. “This burdensome overregulation threatens the ability of our public education systems to promote economic development and successfully adapt to changing educational and fiscal circumstances.”

The Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act was announced as part of the 2010-2011 Executive Budget.

Included in the reforms are instituting a “rational tuition policy,” ending overregulation, increasing operational independence and ensuring accountability.

The act seeks to prepare students better for “the jobs of the future” and encourage innovative public-private research and development.”

“We must provide our institutions of public higher education with the freedom and flexibility they need to drive development both on campus and off, preparing our students for the new economy jobs that will propel New York forward,” Paterson said.

According to SUNY estimates, these reforms would create about 2,200 faculty positions and 7,000 staff positions. In addition, another 43,000 construction jobs would be created.

It is also estimated that 20,000 more students would be able to be accommodated by SUNY and CUNY following the reforms.

“This legislation harnesses high-impact, zero-cost solutions that will create jobs, build the foundation for tomorrow’s economy and strengthen public higher education – while saving taxpayer dollars,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “This will positively impact every community in the state with the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs and through billions of dollars in local investment.”