President of the Student Assembly of the State University of New York (SUNYSA) Attends the State of the University Address

Albany – President of the Student Assembly of the State University of New York (SUNYSA), Lori Mould, introduced Chancellor of the State University of New York (SUNY), Nancy Zimpher for the fifth annual State of the University Address. Access + Completion = Success. The formula isn’t new but the work to solve the equation will be.

the Student Assembly of the State University of New York
The Student Assembly of the State University of New York (SUNY SA) is an organization comprised of student leaders elected by their peers from across SUNY’s 64 campuses. Empowering students throughout the state, the SUNY SA is committed to student life and ensuring the representation of its members on the state and national level as well as throughout the SUNY system.

In addition to President Mould, a number of members of the SUNYSA Executive Committee attended the Chancellor’s address. Among them was Marc Cohen, senior director of external relations.

“The Chancellor has once again provided a number of ambitious goals which the Student Assembly wholeheartedly supports such as: working to improve student completion rates, advisement services, and a focus on sexual assault and domestic violence.” He continued with, “We would, of course, have liked to have seen a plan to address the difficult issue of college affordability; from tuition to textbooks because costs are continuing to rise. This is a very real challenge to access and one that we need to address as a system.”

Since the introduction of Access + Completion = Success, various programs have been introduced to bring the success to the students of SUNY. Chancellor Zimpher touted the positive impact programs like Seamless Transfer, Smart Track, Teach New York and Start Up New York have had on the increasing completion rate. By 2020 the goal is to have the completion rate reach 60%. Currently New York State has a completion rate of 45%, approximately 6% higher than the national average. Chancellor Zimpher protests this isn’t good enough.

Rey Muniz, III, director of government relations said, “There is one word that summarizes the Chancellor’s vision and that word is ambitious.” He further stated, “With new programs and new methods also comes a new price tag. This legislative session will be a challenge for SUNY as we seek to find the proper funding to accomplish our goals. We will be working hard for our students in tandem with system administration to see that these needs are met. We call on the Legislature and the Governor to treat education as the investment that it is and to further SUNY’s role as a partner in the state’s economic vitality.”

To increase Access the Chancellor proposes a partnership with the public schools by placing a dedicated SUNY advisor in every school district in the state. An online course to give high school students access to the information needed to apply for financial aid and the colleges throughout the state. To address issues of diversity every SUNY campus will appoint a chief diversity officer, in addition to existing staff that does reporting.

To reach the Completion goals, implementing Quantway and Statway to address the increasing need for remedial math classes. Campuses will be responsible for any incurred costs due to the unavailability of required courses delaying completion past the four year mark.

To create a higher degree of Success, SUNY plans to increase staff recruiting. The applied learning program will become a graduation requirement SUNYwide.

“The Chancellor’s plan for SUNY is both visionary and insightful,” said SUNYSA President Lori Mould. “SUNY has a history of success and that history will help to propel us forward. We have a real opportunity here to make students an even larger stakeholder in the future of New York. The Chancellor’s plan will leave more students completing degrees, less time spent worrying about remedial courses that do not count towards a degree, and will offer every student the opportunity to engage in experiential learning in the field they aspire to work in. We will continue to work with the Chancellor to represent student interests and to help her on her path to make SUNY simply the best.”