NYS Senate Passes Modified UB 2020 Bill

March 3, 2011 Updated Mar 3, 2011 at 12:21 AM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

...
March 3, 2011 Updated Mar 3, 2011 at 12:21 AM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - For years Western New York Lawmakers have been trying to pass the UB 2020 Bill and Wednesday it passed in the state senate. Sponsored by Senator Mark Grisanti (R-North Buffalo), and co-sponsored Senators George Maziarz, (R-C, Newfane), Patrick Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma), Michael Ranzenhofer (R-C-I, Amherst) and Timothy Kennedy (D, Buffalo), the bill passed 53 to 1.

The bill, entitled UB 2020 Flexibility and Economic Growth Act, met only one opponent: Senator Bill Perkins (D) from the New York City area.

Provisions under the newly modified UB 2020 Bill:
- The bill will only apply to the University at Buffalo, and not the entire SUNY system
- The University at Buffalo would have the ability to set tuition, but increases would be capped at $375 a semester and would need approval by the board of trustees.
- 15 to 20% of the tuition revenue would go towards scholarships.
-Families making less than $60,000 a year will automatically be locked into the current tuition rate for the 2010-2011 school year.

"By revising the bill and having a set tuition in there, increasing the amount of aid given to needy students, and setting a tuition cap, I'm hoping that will satisfy the nay-sayers in the assembly," said Senator Mark Grisanti.

The bill will now move to the state assembly. In the past, the UB 2020 Bill has meet opposition from downstate lawmakers because they believed many students would not be able to afford a SUNY education under the original plan. The WNY Delegation believes the new modifications will help the bill to pass in the state assembly. The plan is expected to create thousands of full-time jobs, construction jobs, and help expand the university.