University Faculty Senate Task Force for Rational Fiscal Policy
Tentative Recommendations for Discussion and Review
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1. State Tax Support
New York State should increase its funding of SUNY over time, given sufficient resources. The percentage of the State General Fund (State tax) budget allocated to SUNY should not decline to provide some degree of stability and predictability in funding. This percentage should increase over time to help support SUNY's moving to the front ranks of higher education.
2. New York State Public Higher Education Stabilization Fund
In order to provide long-term stability and predictability in funding for SUNY and CUNY, New York State should create a Public Higher Education Stabilization Fund. Such a fund could be used to provide additional funds to SUNY and CUNY during times of fiscal hardship for the State. The fund should be replenished during times of fiscal stability and growth for the State. Long-term stability in funding is essential for institutions to engage in meaningful long-range strategic planning.
3. Enrollment Policy
SUNY's enrollment policy should reflect the fact that growth and the improvement in quality is not feasible without appropriate resources. To maintain and enhance quality, enrollment goals should be consistent with available funding. In particular, enrollment increases must be accompanied by appropriate funding increases.
4. Tuition Policy
Tuition should be indexed annually to a well-accepted price index (e.g., higher education price index), which will provide predictability to campus revenue and to financial planning for students and their families. A catch up period (two to three years) should be allowed to account for the lack of a general tuition increase since 1995.
The possibility of setting a higher undergraduate tuition at the doctoral campuses than the comparable rate at non-doctoral campuses to reflect differing costs of education should be explored.
5. Student Fees
Student fees (e.g., technology, health, athletic) should be set in an open, consistent and accountable manner. Differences in campus student fees should reflect actual campus and program costs tied to benefits derived by students. It is expected that with increases in annual tuition that increases in student fees will be moderated.
6. Financial Aid
To ensure affordability and access for all students, the TAP award should cover broad-based student fees, in addition to tuition. The maximum TAP award should be adjusted annually to reflect increases in tuition and student fees.
7. Unfunded Mandates
Implementing unfunded mandates (e.g., negotiated salary increases, new program requirements) imposes an unfair financial burden on the campuses. Adequate funding should be provided to offset the costs associated with such mandates.
8. External Funding
SUNY should intensify its efforts to diversify its sources of funding from external sources (e.g., fund-raising, sponsored research, campus-based initiatives). However, to maintain incentives for campuses to increase external funding, such increases should not result in declines in State support.
9. Truth in Budgeting
To maintain public confidence and trust, New York State, SUNY and the campuses should provide proper, consistent, and open budgeting and accounting of the sources and uses of State and external funds.
10. Effective and Efficient Use of Funds
It is imperative that SUNY and the individual campuses continually look for ways to economize in campus operations. Best practices within and outside SUNY in the use of funds should be shared among campuses.
11. Cooperation/ partnership with CUNY and independent institutions
Given the long history of private higher education in New York State, SUNY should develop close working relationships and partnerships with the independent sector and CUNY for the benefit of the State and its citizens. Areas of cooperation should be explored in order to promote higher education for all New York State residents, economic development and job growth.