Lifton Secures Funding for Higher Education, SUNY Capital Projects in Bipartisan Budget

Budget includes $1.2 million for the Cornell Theory Center’s supercomputer
March 29, 2006

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D-Tompkins/Cortland) announced today that she fought to secure needed funding for higher education initiatives, while investing in SUNY capital projects and the Cornell Theory Center’s supercomputer.

“The bipartisan agreement that we reached makes a solid investment in higher education,” Lifton said. “With this agreement, not only will students have access to an affordable college education, we’ll also make vital improvements to the classrooms and laboratories that enhance their learning.”

The Legislature’s higher education agreement provides for an affordable college education by:

  • Rejecting the governor’s proposed $500 SUNY tuition increase;
  • Restoring $83 million of the governor’s cuts to TAP and expanding TAP to include part-time students;
  • Increasing operating aid by $44 million over the governor’s proposal – allowing SUNY colleges and universities to hire more full-time faculty;
  • Increasing funding by 10 percent for higher education programs like the Education Opportunity Program, SEEK, College Discovery, and the Liberty Partnership Program; and
  • Increasing community college base aid by $75 per full-time equivalent student over the governor’s proposal – for a total of $2,525 per student for Tompkins Cortland Community College.

Lifton also fought to secure $24.4 million for SUNY capital projects in her district. The budget will give:

  • $20 million for SUNY Cortland’s Phase I project to upgrade the Science/Technology building;
  • $2 million for Cornell University’s Industrial Labor Relations faculty wing restoration; and
  • $2.4 million for Tompkins Cortland Community College’s athletic facility renovation/master plan initiative.

“By making more money available for capital improvements, the local economy will benefit,” Lifton said. “Improvements to area buildings and facilities will bring more jobs and business opportunities.”

The bipartisan budget also includes $1.2 million for the Cornell Theory Center to help maintain its supercomputer. Lifton noted that supercomputers are used for specialized applications that require immense amounts of mathematical calculations. The Cornell Theory Center assists research in a number of areas, including mathematics, finance and agriculture.

The Cornell Theory Center – which houses the university’s supercomputer – has been a pioneer in high-performance computing since 1984. The center assists more than 1,200 researchers in solving computationally-intensive and data-driven science problems.

“Our budget removes the obstacles the governor attempted to place in the path of those seeking a higher education. The Assembly and the Senate worked together to create a fair, sound budget and it’s time for the governor to join us. I urge the governor to support our budget and its higher education plan – so that more New Yorkers will have more opportunities.”