Today, University at Buffalo President John Simpson and State Senator William T. Stachowski announced the State Senate’s passage of the UB 2020 Flexibility and Economic Growth Act. The senate’s approval of this bill is a major step forward for the UB 2020 program because it would allow the university the financial flexibility it needs to further pursue the program’s lofty goals, which aims to grow the school by 40 percent and become a top-notch public research facility by 2020. The bill now moves to the State Assembly for its approval.
The bill includes many reforms that could begin to make the dream of the UB 2020 program a reality. For instance, the university could implement a rational tuition policy, which would allow them to retain revenues from small tuition increases. This additional revenue would then be used to fund campus expansion projects and a 20 percent increase in financial aid for needy students.
Among other changes, the bill also proposes to give the school access to capital markets, greater flexibility in contracting and spending, and the ability to lease and purchase land and facilities. Members of the Senate noted that the bill would not place any additional financial burden on taxpayers, thereby providing the university with an immediate and cost-effective method of achieving its UB 2020 plan.
State Senator Dale Volker said the bill’s passage into law would help the university achieve its goals, which can in turn help our region economically. “Giving the University at Buffalo flexibility in how they operate is a necessity in today’s academic research environment,” he said. “That is why this legislation is need more than ever and why I am pleased to have voted ‘yes’ for this bill.”
In May, after the Senate Finance Committee initially approved the bill, Stachowski said, “The UB 2020 Flexibility and Economic Growth Act is the type of high-impact, no-cost legislation Western New York needs to move forward with economic development strategies that only can be provided by a major research university.”
Meanwhile, Simpson thanked the State Senate for its support for the bill, as well as their continued support for the UB 2020 program as a whole. “Their willingness to champion UB 2020 as the path to a strong knowledge economy will go a long way toward extending and deepening the university’s impact on our larger communities throughout the region and state,” he said.
If successful, UB has projected the 2020 program could have an annual economic impact of $1.7 to $3.6 billion. The initiative could also create more than 10,000 jobs across several fields, including academia, information technology, maintenance, administration, and technological and research support.
After today’s announcement, Stachowski was honored with a “Reaching Others Award” for his support of and advocacy for the university. The award was handed out as part of UB’s Business Partner’s Day.
Pictured above is UB President John Simpson. (Both photos courtesy of UB.)