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Governor Paterson Calls for the Passage of the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act

May 11, 2010

News from New York State Office of the Governor

ALBANY, NY (05/11/2010)(readMedia)-- Governor David A. Paterson today was joined by Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch, State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, City University of New York (CUNY) Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, students and university, business and labor leaders in urging the Legislature to pass the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act. The Act includes the most significant reforms to the State's public higher education system in a generation and was introduced as part of the Governor's 2010-11 Executive Budget.

"The Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act will provide SUNY and CUNY with the freedom and flexibility they need to prepare students for the future, create jobs and promote economic development," Governor Paterson said. "My proposal would help SUNY and CUNY reach their full potential and drive development both on campus and off. This reform is supported by students, the faculty, labor and university administrators alike, and we urge the legislature to take swift action to pass this important bill."

The Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act achieves reform in three key areas of public higher education governance: tuition, public-private partnerships and procurement. Working from a template established by the Commission on Higher Education, the proposal takes tuition-setting out of the State budget process and allows for the SUNY and CUNY systems to implement rational and differential tuition policies, making tuition more equitable and predictable for students and families; allows for campuses to more efficiently enter into public-private partnerships to pursue collaborative research and development partnerships that will drive New York's future prosperity; and eliminates burdensome and unnecessary regulation and micromanagement and streamlines the procurement process.

Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravich said: "After more than four decades in public service, I firmly believe that higher education has a unique power to drive statewide prosperity and help us grow out of recession. The Empowerment and Innovation Act is the result of several years of recognition by higher education experts that SUNY and CUNY currently operate in a system that limits the positive impact they have on our students lives and on the economic health of our State. We cannot afford to leave this opportunity on the table."

The Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act has received broad-based support from the SUNY Student Assembly and university administrators as well as the SUNY Faculty Senate, business leaders and organized labor.

"The Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act builds upon the tradition of access to excellence that our institutions of public higher education have come to embody," the Governor added. "It is critical that the Legislature enact this transformative reform."

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