Binghamton NYSUNY2020 plan approved

Jonathan Cohen, Binghamton University
August 9, 2012

Governor Cuomo announced approval of Binghamton University’s NYSUNY 2020 challenge grant on Thursday. The grant consists of two objectives: construction of a $70 million, state-of-the-art Smart Energy Research and Development Facility and the addition of 2,000 students, 150 faculty, and 175 professional and support staff to develop new and strengthen existing academic programs.

Under the plan, Binghamton will receive $35 million in capital construction funds for the smart energy facility. The university will also be able to implement of a rational tuition plan to support the hiring of new researchers and faculty, expansion of academic offerings and facilities, and expansion of technology development in high-tech fields.

The Smart Energy Research and Development Facility will create more than 840 new full-time jobs in the Southern Tier by 2017, and will attract $7 million annually in additional funding for energy research.

“The Binghamton University plan will maximize the economic impact that one of New York’s most prominent university centers has on the Empire State,” Cuomo said.

The facility will promote collaboration with and among major firms doing business in the region, with a focus on four key areas of alternative energy research: solar and thermoelectric energy harvesting, energy storage, energy efficiency in electronic systems, and sensor development for energy resource management.

“The smart energy facility will be the fourth building at Binghamton’s Innovative Technologies Complex,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo at the news conference. “Binghamton is one of the top research facilities not only in the state, but across the country and is doing top-notch, state-of-the-art research. This further connects Binghamton with the work of the Regional Development Council and for partnering with others.”

The Challenge Grant Program, including a rational tuition policy, is part of the NYSUNY 2020 legislation signed by the governor in August 2011. A joint program between the state and SUNY, the legislation allows each SUNY 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.

In addition, under the legislation, Binghamton and the three other University Centers (Albany, Buffalo and Stony Brook) can also raise tuition by an additional three percent annually for five years. With today’s approval, Binghamton becomes the third University Center, along with Buffalo and Stony Brook, to implement its plan.

New tuition revenue will allow Binghamton to increase enrollment by 2,000 students over the next four years, lowering its student: faculty ratio from 21:1 to 19:1.