State Budget Update

Help SUNY students get what they paid for! 

In my effort to keep all constituencies informed as the New York State budget process evolves, the following summarizes the impact that Governor Paterson's budget proposal may have on Alfred State. You'll recall from my earlier communication that there were three types of possible budget cuts that would substantially affect the college. They were: the non-funding of negotiated salary increases, the state's redirection of 90% of the revenue from tuition increases, and a SUNY base budget cut.

I am pleased to share with you that the first of the three, the salary increases, was funded in the Governor¹s budget proposal. Our current calculations show that this will result in approximately $900K that we will not have to fund out of our current base budget.

Unfortunately, the tuition proposal that emerged is not favorable to SUNY. The Governor is proposing to give SUNY only 10% of the spring 2009 tuition increase and 20% of the 2009-10 tuition increase.  The local impact on our campus is an approximate loss of revenue for the spring semester of $883K, which we would have used to cover the last budget cut of $807K.  The loss of tuition revenue for the 2009-10 academic year is about $1.76M, based on the Governor¹s proposal.

The Governor's budget also contains a $40M base budget cut for SUNY for 2009-10.  We do not yet know how that would impact the local campus budget, and I will report to you as soon as System Administration provides some guidance on this matter.

I understand that many are wondering how this news affects the workforce at ASC. In my last memo, I said that the worst-case scenario was equivalent to a reduction of workforce by 80 full-time positions. This budget news revises that figure down to an equivalent of approximately 35 full-time positions. Reducing the workforce by layoffs is a last resort, and will be considered only when we exhaust all viable alternatives.  As always, I appreciate ideas you may have regarding cost cutting measures, and the cabinet members will also be developing strategies to reduce costs for 2009-10.

What do we do to advocate for our campus? SUNY BOT Chairman Carl Hayden and SUNY BOT Finance Committee Chair Carl McCall have sent a letter to the NYS legislative leaders calling for support of SUNY, including the need to have SUNY retain the tuition increases.  We will be hosting a Legislative afternoon on our campus, Tuesday, January 20, following a College Council meeting that will focus on the current financial challenge facing Alfred State.  Meanwhile, I ask all of you to contact your legislators and ask for their support in returning our tuition increase revenue. Our argument for advocacy is a clear one: Students should get what they paid for. Tuition that students pay for education should actually be used to fund those students' education, not used as a revenue source for other state expenditures. As you advocate for SUNY and Alfred State, please remember that employees who communicate to state, local, and federal representatives should do so in their personal, and not official, capacity, on their personal time, and without the use or identification of official title/position.

I remind you that we also must be unwavering in our dedication to our students, in our adherence to our mission, and in our work toward the strategic goals as set forth in our new strategic plan, "Honoring Tradition and Embracing Innovation."  I view the current economic situation as temporary, although its duration is uncertain. In the meantime, we must prepare for the future and keep sight of our goals. If we succeed in that, we will emerge on the other side of these challenges stronger, more focused, and with a shared sense of pride and purpose.

I will always share new information with you as it becomes available. As always, I appreciate your support.

Respectfully,

Dr. John M. Anderson
President of Alfred State College

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