10:33am

Thu June 2, 2011
Higher ed

SUNY foundation faces audit while its schools seek more funding

The State University of New York takes center stage for today's higher-ed news roundup:

Alleged 'no-show' job sparks SUNY audit

Cara Matthews at the Democrat and Chronicle reports that State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, has launched an independent audit of the SUNY Research Foundation and its president, John O'Connor:

O’Connor, who has also worked for the Ditchley Foundation, a private group, has been on voluntary leave since mid-May, after the state Commission on Public Integrity said there is “reasonable cause” to believe he violated state ethics. He gave Susan Bruno, the daughter of former Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno a $70,000-per-year “no-show” job with the foundation while Bruno was still a senator. She was hired in 2003 and quit in 2009.

[Full disclosure: the Research Foundation is an underwriter of the Innovation Trail.]

SUNY makes the case that it matters

As we reported, SUNY officials were in Albany yesterday to release a report called, "How SUNY Matters." The study claims that the network of schools has a nearly $20 billion impact on the state’s economy.

The Innovation Trail's Daniel Robison took a look at what SUNY means to Western New York:

More than 78,000 students attend a SUNY school in western New York. And an additional 16,000 are employed as faculty and staff.

“When you quantify it … that’s an awfully large number in terms of the impact on an economy. And that’s driven, in part, by spending by campuses, primarily by employee wages and benefits. But it’s also driven the spending of campuses by goods and services,” says Kate Foster, with UB’s Regional Institute and a co-author of the report. “All of those things drive a circulation of dollars in an economy.”

The numbers should resonate in the Buffalo area, where the economy has been in transition for decades, Foster says.

Although SUNY may be a big giver when it comes to the economy, it's also looking at taking more – more tuition, that is. 

Rick Karlin reports for the Albany Times Union that a five percent tuition hike could be on the horizon:

Cuomo believes an increase is needed. And key lawmakers say they could approve a tuition hike if they receive assurances the extra money won't be "swept" into the general fund, or be offset by reductions in state support for the 64-campus system.

YNN also reports that Stony Brook University officials also met with Governor Cuomo yesterday, hoping to get funding through the SUNY 2020 plan.  

Grant goes to Nanocollege

Speaking of more money headed SUNY's way, the University of Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering is getting a grant of an undisclosed size today from National Grid.

Larry Ruilison reports for the Albany Times Union:

The exact amount of what’s called a Renewable Energy and Economic Development Grant was not disclosed by the London-based utility.

The NanoCollege is involved in solar research, which National Grid says is a “natural fit” for its grant program.

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