Joshua R. Altemoos
Technology Chair, Student Senate
Before I attended the SUNY Student Assembly’s Fall Conference in November I had never actually heard about the SUNY Resource Allocation Plan. During the Chancellor’s presentation, it was mentioned briefly. Then during the business meeting, a resolution was brought to the floor to force the President of the SUNY Student Assembly and SUNY Board of Trustee member Kevin Rea (SUNY Maritime) to vote against any Resource Allocation Plan. The resolution came about because of the perceived harm such an allocation plan would cause any of the state-operated colleges.
Because of all of this, President Rea got in contact with Brian G. Hutzley, Vice Chancellor & CFO of SUNY System Administration. He asked CFO Hutzley to explain the Resource Allocation Model. President Rea wanted to help clear up misconceptions that came up from either leaked drafts and through other means.
On November 26th 2012, I represented Alfred State on the conference call with CFO Hutzley about this matter. Also on the call were about 10 other student leaders from around the state including University of Albany, University of Buffalo, ESF, Geneso, Maritime, SUNY IT, and Broome Community College.
CFO Hutzley explained that the new Resource Allocation Model only affects the funds received from the state, which the state. New York State only covers roughly 40% of the cost of instruction, which is about one-fifth of the cost of running a college. The funds received from tuition is much larger than what a college receives from the state.
The new model is being implemented because the previous tool was out-of-date. It funded colleges at enrollment numbers from 2007/2008 and even provided funding for centers and institutes that no longer existed. It was also hard for the state to figure out why they were giving more money to some areas than to others that were equivalent. CFO Hutzley also explained how the resource would now equally fund programs that were identical and fund unique programs like ESF’s forest and Maritime’s ship along with research programs that bring in State and Federal grants, while still being sensitive to each campus and its needs and potential down-falls. The SUNY Board plans to slowly ease into the plan each year with transitional funding, so that no college will be in the negative when considering tuition, rational tuition increases, and the state operating budget.
During the question and answer portion of the conference call, there were many heated questions. I asked, “Percent wise, why are the Ag/Tech and Statuary State Operated Colleges affected the most with an overall 4.3% decrease in state support? Why do these colleges get the largest individual decrease of 27.0%?” CFO Hutzley danced around the question without completely answering it, saying that the Technology Sector is not actually being hit the most (by dollar amounts this is true). There are, he said, some colleges in the sector that have grown rapidly, like SUNY Farmingdale and SUNY Canton, and others that have shrunk, such as SUNY IT.
As mentioned, I had not heard of this model previous, nor had any other member of the SUNY student government. When confronted like this, CFO Hurzley’s response was that President Anderson has been serving on the committee to help with the process as well as the shared services committee (because of the fact Alfred State now prints materials for SUNY Genseso in Monroe County and SUNY Fredonia in Chautauqua County). He said that President Anderson and Alfred State’s Comptroller Lisa Porter have done a great job over the years managing the finances for the college and creating a rational budget. For Alfred, CFO Hutzley told me, the actual decrease in state resources is “small” compared to other colleges.