Gov. Cuomo approves Binghamton NYSUNY 2020 plan
From staff reportsGov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced approval of Binghamton University's NYSUNY 2020 challenge grant proposal that rests on two objectives: construction of a $70 million, state-of-the-art Smart Energy Research and Development Facility and the addition of 2,000 students, 150 faculty and 175 professional and support staff to develop new and strengthen existing academic programs.
"We were contacted by the governor's office and told our plan was formally adopted and approved," said Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger at an Aug. 8 news conference held at the University's Innovative Technologies Complex. "It was a long path to get here and I thank Donna Lupardo and Tom Libous because it was a team effort from day one.
"This starts the process for designing and constructing a new building in the area of renewable energy, as well as the addition of students, faculty and staff," he added. "This will allow us to expand our academic programs and add new jobs. It's quite exciting."
Under the plan, Binghamton will receive $35 million in capital construction funds for the smart energy facility and be able to implement a rational tuition plan to support the hiring of new researchers and faculty, expansion of academic offerings and facilities, development of public/private research partnerships and expansion of technology development in high-tech fields.
"The Binghamton University plan will maximize the economic impact that one of New York's most prominent university centers has on the Empire State," Cuomo said. "I look forward to seeing the plan in action, as Binghamton University creates jobs on campus and throughout the Southern Tier, enhances New York's energy-smart infrastructure and alternative energy research portfolio, and gives more students access to a top quality public higher education that is second to none in the nation and around the world."
The Binghamton University Smart Energy Research and Development Facility will create more than 840 new full-time jobs in the Southern Tier by 2017, and annually attract $7 million in additional funding for energy research. The facility will promote collaboration with and among major firms doing business in the region, with a focus on four key areas of alternative energy research: solar and thermoelectric energy harvesting, energy storage, energy efficiency in electronic systems and sensor development for energy resource management.
"The smart energy facility will be the fourth building at Binghamton's Innovative Technologies Complex," said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo at the news conference. "Binghamton is one of the top research facilities not only in the state, but across the country and is doing top-notch, state-of-the-art research. This further connects Binghamton with the work of the Regional Development Council and for partnering with others."
"With an estimated economic impact of $1 billion by 2017, the Binghamton University plan not only meets but far exceeds the NYSUNY 2020 challenge and promises to greatly enhance the University's services to students, faculty, and staff as well as its partnerships in the Southern Tier and throughout New York," SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher said. "NYSUNY 2020 represents a fantastic opportunity for SUNY and for New York state, and we are thrilled by the remarkable progress this partnership with Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature has enabled our campuses to make as this initiative has moved forward."
"The entire Binghamton University community thanks Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Chancellor Nancy Zimpher for their help making Binghamton University's NYSUNY 2020 proposal a reality," Stenger said. "Approval of the challenge grant puts Binghamton University and the Southern Tier region on an exciting path of growth. This NYSUNY 2020 plan will help us realize a number of goals that are important to New York state — to create jobs, enhance education and encourage research that drives new technologies. Most importantly, it will build on the synergy of our two main objectives, to enhance the academic quality of the University and have a significant economic impact on the Southern Tier. Binghamton University is proud that the governor and the chancellor value the work it is doing and have provided the opportunity to implement this progressive plan."
The Challenge Grant Program, including a rational tuition policy, is part of the NYSUNY 2020 legislation signed by the governor in August 2011. A joint program between the state and SUNY, the legislation allows each SUNY campus to raise tuition by $300 per year for five years, replacing an era of sudden tuition increases with a system that is predictable and empowers students and parents to plan for college expenses.
In addition, under the legislation, Binghamton and the three other University Centers (Albany, Buffalo and Stony Brook) can also raise tuition by an additional three percent annually for five years. With this recent approval, Binghamton becomes the third University Center, along with Buffalo and Stony Brook, to implement its plan.
New tuition revenue will allow Binghamton to increase enrollment by 2,000 students over the next four years, lowering its student: faculty ratio from 21:1 to 19:1.