How tuition flexibility can help SUNY Centers like Binghamton University | Opinion

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Since 1946, our community has been the proud home of Binghamton University, a highly respected research institution that serves as a driver of transformational economic activity in our region, as has the entire SUNY system statewide. In addition to economic opportunity, SUNY provides upward mobility and access for students locally, nationally and internationally.

SUNY, and specifically Binghamton, are renowned for their reputation for access, affordability and equity as well as their tradition of excellence in scholarship, research and innovation.

The Leadership Alliance offers its ardent support for the proposed language within the 2023-24 Executive Budget providing Binghamton University, Stony Brook University, the University at Buffalo and the University at Albany with a multi-year differential tuition plan that supports the expansion of academic programs students need to both enroll and complete their degrees. Differential tuition will also help all four campuses further deliver on the research and innovation potential that has helped them cement national reputations for excellence.

Stacey Duncan
Stacey Duncan

We all are aware of the work done by Binghamton Distinguished Professor and Nobel Laureate Stan Whittingham. Professor Whittingham’s work led to the creation of lithium-ion batteries that are ubiquitous — powering devices such as the phones we carry around every day to the computers we rely on that have transformed how we live and work. These technological advances are happening across all four SUNY Centers.

Because of federal and state sources such as Pell Grants, the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and Excelsior Scholarships, as well as campus resources, nearly 53% of all full-time resident undergraduate SUNY students attend tuition-free. It is important to note that even with Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed tuition increase, these same students will not pay more because the governor’s proposal increases TAP as well.

SUNY’s Centers are unmatched in providing a stellar, accessible education — while at the same time engaging in path-breaking graduate education, research, scholarship and creative activities that shape the world.

SUNY’s four-year campuses have historically been good shepherds of the tuition flexibility authorized by the New York State Legislature in the past, having avoided tuition increases since 2019. To advance the growth of state-of-the art research at places like Binghamton, it is necessary to provide the SUNY Centers with differential tuition flexibility.

PhD students Abdullah Obeidat and Babatunde Falola do research at the Smart Electronics Manufacturing Lab at Binghamton University's Innovative Technologies Complex.
PhD students Abdullah Obeidat and Babatunde Falola do research at the Smart Electronics Manufacturing Lab at Binghamton University's Innovative Technologies Complex.

Empowering Binghamton University and SUNY’s three other research university centers to grow and attract additional federal investments positions them to better compete for students and exceptional faculty.

We urge the Senate and Assembly to accept the Executive’s proposal for multi-year differential tuition for Binghamton, Stony Brook, Buffalo and Albany — a differential plan similar to ones that have been accepted and successful in other public higher education systems including Georgia, Massachusetts, California, North Carolina and Texas to name a few.

The governor’s proposals for public higher education in New York will help ensure that SUNY’s four university centers have the resources needed to build on their record of affordability, accessibility and research excellence while ensuring that they continue to play vital roles in transforming their communities, as Binghamton has done here in the Southern Tier.

Stacey Duncan is the CEO of the Leadership Alliance, a partnership between The Agency and the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce to lead economic, business and community development in the Greater Binghamton area.

This article originally appeared on Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin: SUNY differential tuition would boost university centers | Opinion