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Zimpher: UB 2020 not dead

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The goals of UB 2020 could be achieved in a fragmented fashion, says SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher.

With UB 2020 dropped from consideration in the state budget proposal, the bill now must gain passage on its own.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher says the legislation, which gives some state universities more independence, could still see passage this session. 

“With all legislative processes, persistence is a key. It was in the discussion last year, now this year. It’s been in discussion with a number of years. I just want [the legislature] to come back with a commitment to the entire SUNY enterprise. And everybody, I’m sure, understands that,” Zimpher says.

Earlier this session, the Senate passed UB 2020 will only one “no” vote. While the entire bill is in jeopardy, parts of the UB 2020 plan could gain passage on their own.

Last week, for instance, the SUNY Board of Trustees authorized Zimpher to negotiate with Governor Andrew Cuomo on a proposal that would raise tuition over the next half decade.   

“We’re really talking now about a rational five-year tuition plan. On Tuesday [March 22] our Board of Trustees affirmed such a plan. The governor is talking about rational tuition for SUNY. I don’t know the timeline for that, but we’re very encouraged by his support,” Zimpher says.

Zimpher says UB 2020's latest rejection by the Assembly doesn’t mean the legislation is dead, but it does face obstacles to survive.

“The concept is a solid one and its one that the full SUNY system should be included in. We work with [UB] and will work with them in the future toward that end,” Zimpher says.

Currently, SUNY tuition is about $5,000 a year.

Zimpher made her remarks at the We Live NY Summit in Ithaca. 

WBFO/Western New York reporter for the Innovation Trail.
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