Press Releases

Purchase Supports Governor's Public Higher Education Act

Date Released: 1/20/2010

President Thomas J. Schwarz commend's Governor Paterson for his proposal and urges legislative support.

“There will be a positive impact for Purchase College, for SUNY and for higher education in New York,” said Thomas J. Schwarz President of Purchase College, “if the significant reforms to the State’s system of public higher education announced by Governor David. A. Paterson in his Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act, are implemented.” 


“I commend the Governor for his proposal and urge our legislators to support it.  New York State is entitled to first class higher education and this legislation will help the state achieve that goal,” said President Schwarz.


The Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act will provide the State University of New York( SUNY) and the City University of New York (CUNY) the flexibility to implement a rational tuition policy and greater operational flexibility regarding the procurement of goods and contractual services; the procurement of financing of construction services, and the use of campus property.


“If enacted, the Act will create many of the benefits for SUNY that independent experts and commissions have been urging for many years, including the Commission on Higher Education on which I served,” said President Schwarz.


“A rational tuition policy will end ‘tuition roulette’ where tuition remains constant and then jumps up an extraordinary amount.  And importantly, SUNY would keep its tuition, rather than as we have seen in recent times, tuition is taken away to solve the State’s budget problems,” he said.


“Finally, this bill would allow Purchase to pursue the long-stalled retirement community as well as other mission related endeavors,” said Schwarz.


Summary of Reforms:


Governor Patterson’s Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act includes the following provisions that impact SUNY:


Flexibility in Tuition Policy


Moves tuition outside the State budget process, allowing SUNY to receive and disburse revenues from tuition and self-supporting program activities.


Authorizes the board of trustees for SUNY to implement an equitable and responsible tuition policy that would provide the universities/colleges with the discretion to raise tuition incrementally up to an annual cap of two and one half times the five-year rolling average of the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI), making it easier for students and families to anticipate and plan  for the true cost of attendance over the course of a degree program.


Authorizes the SUNY trustees to implement differential tuition rates for programs and campuses within their systems to enhance academic quality based on the recommendation of the college president and in accordance with specific guidelines promulgated by the trustees.


Operational Flexibility


Authorizes the lease of real property under the jurisdiction of SUNY to other entities in support of its educational purpose and the participation in public/private partnerships that would benefit SUNY’s mission and diversify revenue streams, subject to approval of a newly created State University Asset Maximization Review Board.  This will help encourage greater business opportunities and innovative research partnerships.


Remove provisions of law subjecting SUNY to pre-approval of contracts by the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) in order to streamline the procurement of goods and services while maintaining provisions requiring the post-audit of such contracts by OSC.


Allows post-audit in lieu of pre-audit requirements for Attorney General approval of leases between SUNY and its alumni associations in support of dormitory projects.


Prescribes specific semi-annual reporting requirements on revenues and expenditures at a campus-specific level to ensure continued transparency and accountability.