Amherst, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday signed the University of Buffalo 2020 challenge grant in Amherst, kick-starting a $375 million plan that will help revitalize Buffalo's economy and create thousands of jobs.
Under the plan, the University of Buffalo will hire new faculty, expand its academic offerings and facilities and relocate the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
"UB 2020 will create jobs, facilitate private investment and help turn the University of Buffalo into a national leader amongst public research universities," Cuomo said. "This is a real investment in revitalizing economic development in Western New York. I look forward to seeing how this plan transforms the region and I commend the Western New York legislative delegation for helping to turn this project into a reality."
The UB 2020 plan will create more than 3,000 new full-time jobs in Western New York by 2018, including:
•975 jobs at UB
•1,125 new healthcare jobs
•200 jobs at start-up companies
•100 new medical faculty
•More than 1,665 construction related jobs to build the new medical school for the new campus in downtown Buffalo.
In addition to renovating the medical university, all of University at Buffalo will see added benefits from the UB 2020 plan such as reduced class sizes and the ability to hire new faculty throughout UB.
The medical school project will serve as catalyst for additional development with Kaleida Health, Buffalo's largest hospital system—and other private and public entities—making it a $655 million investment in Buffalo's downtown medical campus.
The current UB medical facility is 60 years old and is in need of comprehensive upgrade. Western New York is outsourcing healthcare to other areas outside the Western New York Region. The new medical facility will, not only revitalize economic growth in the region it will also provide state of the art medical care. Under the plan more than 160 physicians will be trained annually and more than 20 clinical service specialty areas, where UB will be able to deliver services that aren't available today in WNY, will be part of the plan.
Finally, the new medical facility will result in $100 million annual patient income growth as well as $25 million in new research income annually and $20 million in gift income growth.
Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos said: "After years of inaction, Senator Grisanti and our entire Western New York delegation played a key role in making UB2020 a reality. I commend the Governor for his leadership on this important project and am thrilled that UB's challenge grant application has been approved so we can continue to leverage the outstanding work being done at the University to create thousands of jobs in Buffalo and Western New York."
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, "Rebuilding our Upstate economy requires not only a commitment to innovation, but also a commitment to rebuilding and revitalizing our great cities. With this plan, we are leveraging our quality universities by utilizing the technological capacity and human capital of the University at Buffalo to rebuild our economy and create jobs. I commend Governor Cuomo, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, and University at Buffalo President Satish Tripathi for their leadership in enhancing the academic mission of the University while also creating the environment to make the campus a regional economic development generator."
Senator Mark Grisanti said, "Today is a big victory for the University of Buffalo, our City, and Western New York. The plan authorized today will help UB continue its academic excellence and maintain its affordability. This plan also enables UB to contribute more significantly to Buffalo's emerging biomedical economy and will create thousands of new jobs here in Western New York. With Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State is rebuilding and showing that progress can be made by setting politics aside and putting the people first."
Assemblyman Mark Schroeder said, "UB2020 will create thousands of jobs, expand educational opportunities, and be a driving force in the economic development of Western New York. This plan gives the University at Buffalo the tools to build a world-class university, while forging a new economy in Buffalo based on technology, education, and innovation. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo for his commitment to UB2020, and his tremendous leadership through this process. This is a historic day for Buffalo, and a sign of great things to come for our region."
SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher said, "The SUNY campuses continue to realize the benefits of Governor Cuomo's vision and leadership for a stronger New York and a more competitive public university system. By ensuring affordability, by hiring new faculty and increasing access, and by moving the medical school downtown and creating nearly 3,000 healthcare and construction jobs for Western New York, the University at Buffalo's NYSUNY 2020 plan promises to better serve students and positively impact both the local and state economies. This is truly a proud day for the University at Buffalo, for SUNY, and for all of New York State."
President of University at Buffalo Satish Tripathi said, "We are very thankful to Governor Cuomo, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and the state legislature for their continued support over the past year. This funding will have a historic impact on our university -- one that will transform the depth and scope of UB's academic and research enterprise while significantly expanding our role in improving the quality of life in Western New York."
The UB 2020 program is part of the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program that the Governor signed in August. The law helps New York's public universities become a leading catalyst for regionally-focused economic development while maintaining affordability and improving academic quality for all students.
The NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program – a joint program between the Governor and SUNY – incentivizes bottom-up, individualized, long-term economic development plans on SUNY campuses and the surrounding communities. The new rational tuition program replaces decades of unpredictable and sudden tuition hikes, allowing students and parents to better plan for college expenses.
The new law enacted a rational tuition plan that allows each SUNY and CUNY campus to raise tuition by $300 per year for five years, replacing an era of sudden tuition increases with a system that is predictable and empowers students and parents to plan for college expenses. For the past 20 years, the average annual SUNY tuition increase has been 6.7 percent, exceeding the five-year, $300 increases included in this legislation. During that time, there were periods without tuition increases followed by sudden and dramatic tuition spikes of up to 40 percent. Such spikes and uncertainty in tuition is detrimental to students, families, and the university system. The NYSUNY 2020 legislation prevents these types of unpredictable tuition hikes from reoccurring.
The law will maintain affordability by establishing tuition credits, which will require SUNY and CUNY to apply a credit against the tuition charged to a student. The amount of the applicable tuition credit will be based on the level of a student's tuition assistance program (TAP) award.
University Centers at Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook, after the approval of their Challenge Grant Applications, will additionally be able to implement a rational "plus" tuition plan by including an additional three percent increase (based upon a $75 fee and an up to 10 percent tuition increase for out-of-state students) annually for five years. As a condition of approval, the University Centers are required to include other financial aid plans to qualify for the rational "plus" program.
The act authorizes $80 million in capital funding for the four University Centers that will be granted subject to the approval of the NYSUNY 2020 applications. Combined with the additional $60 million in existing SUNY funds, the total Challenge Grant Program investment totals $140 million. The law additionally requires strong conflict of interest policies and MWBE goals for implementation of the program.