Published on 2012/03/30

SUNY Chancellor Touts New York Alignment Model For Everyone Else

On Tuesday, State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher took to web and published an article with CNN’s Schools of Thought blog touting New York’s higher education funding model for the rest of the country.

She pointed out that across the country, the cost of receiving higher education is exploding. California’s public colleges and universities experiences a 21 percent increase in tuition last year—affecting 10 percent of American students—while Pennsylvania is considering privatizing the state’s public universities.

Her solution is to move beyond the standard cries for higher tuitions or more state spending. She says schools need to simply cut costs and increase in-house efficiencies if they want to provide affordable higher education.

“When you have a large public university system – SUNY has a 64-campus umbrella – opportunities can be identified to cut costs and increase efficiency, and those savings can be redirected to expanding access and enhancing services that directly benefit students,” she wrote.

She suggests specific examples of consolidating information technology and human resources services, then using the extra funds saved on faculty hiring, expanding course offerings and improving other student services. Zimpher added that SUNY was committed to shifting at least five percent of its administrative spending to student services over the next three years.

While she admits that this will be coupled with a model tuition increase and that there is a need for the state to commit to (at minimum) maintaining its current funding model, the alignment model practiced at SUNY is a way to make the money already within a university work better.

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