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Monday, May 16, 2022
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State budget includes funding for new UB engineering building, full-time faculty

The new $220 billion budget will bring additional money to SUNY schools

New York State’s $220 billion budget — which funds everything from updating civil service exams to subsidies for a new Bills stadium — passed on April 7. 

The budget includes dedicated money for initiatives intended to elevate SUNY into a “nation-leading public higher education system,” according to the state’s briefing book.

As part of the initiatives to make the SUNY system a top public university system, the two SUNY flagship universities — UB and Stony Brook — will receive $68 million each to build a new engineering building on their campuses (UB will now need to fundraise the remaining $34 million). Gov. Kathy Hochul’s budget dedicates $53 million for full-time faculty, includes plans to increase the SUNY operating budget by $1.5 billion over five years and earmarks $2 million for SUNY and CUNY mental health initiatives.

Hochul’s plan also intends to “help two-thirds of New Yorkers earn a postsecondary credential,” according to the state's briefing book. She aims to accomplish this by increasing funding for childcare centers and expanding the tuition assistance program for part-time students enrolled in public institutions across the state.

Currently, the state “university systems” receive just over $6.4 billion in funding, which will increase by $116 million in the 2023 fiscal year to just under $6.6 billion.

UB spokesperson John DellaContrada said in an email that the university is looking forward to continuing its partnership with Gov. Hochul after UB was designated a flagship SUNY earlier this year.

“We are pleased that the NYS budget includes increases in capital funding, and investments in TAP [New York State Tuition Assistance Program] and student mental health programs,” Della Contrada wrote. “The budget also provides funding opportunities for strategic investments (such as improving academic programs, enhancing student support, modernizing operations) and funding to hire new faculty.”

UB’s 2021-22 Annual Operating Budget Report found a need for more state funding to support the growing student population. The report also stated that between 2008 and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, state funding to UB had dropped or stayed unchanged from year to year. 

UB receives most of its $850 million operating budget from tuition revenue (38%), followed by direct state tax support (18%) and fees (14%). The report noted that the university’s decreasing international student population is affecting its revenues.

“It takes three resident undergraduate students to replace the lost tuition revenue from one student in all other tuition groups (e.g., international students),” the Annual Operating Report notes.

UB currently has two major ongoing initiatives — Top 25: More Than a Number and its Ph.D. Excellence Initiative. The Top 25 initiative is aimed at elevating UB to one of the top-25 public universities in the country — it currently stands at No. 38 in the U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking. The Ph.D. Excellence Initiative seeks to solve problems related to Ph.D. candidacy at UB by recruiting high-performing Ph.D. candidates and “embracing the diversity of doctoral programs.” 

Julie Frey is a senior news/features editor and can be reached at julie.frey@ubspectrum.com

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JULIE FREY
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Julie Frey is a senior news/features editor at The Spectrum. She is a political science and environmental studies double major. She enjoys theorizing about Taylor Swift, the color yellow and reading books that make her cry. She can be found on Twitter @juliannefrey. 

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