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HIGHER EDUCATION COULD HELP STIMULATE STATE ECONOMIC RECOVERY, BUT THE 'ENGINE' IS LOW ON FUEL AFTER A DECADE OF UNDER-FUNDING: NYU PRESIDENT

 ALBANY, N.Y., Feb. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- A discouraging decade of under-funding has left New York State's "economic engine of higher education" low on fuel, New York University President L. Jay Oliva told state legislators here today.
 Oliva, who led a delegation of 140 NYU students, faculty and alumni to the State Capitol, said, "Higher education in New York has lost $1 billion in real dollars over the last five years, and private institutions have borne the brunt of these drastic cuts.
 "There are some 136 large and small private colleges and universities across our state. With more than 400,000 students, we represent nearly 40 percent of the state's college enrollment.
 "We confer 58 percent of all bachelor's degrees in New York State, 69 percent of all master's degrees and doctoral degrees, and 83 percent of all professional degrees. And we confer more than half the bachelor's degrees received by students from minority groups.
 "At a time when our economy faces so many challenges, colleges and universities can be social and economic engines, moving our state forward through training and research to meet the demands of a changing work force and a highly competitive national and global marketplace."
 The state's private colleges and universities employ over 100,000 people and have an estimated annual economic impact of over $24 billion. Private higher education in New York State is not only a large enterprise, Oliva said, but it is also a cost-effective investment.
 New York State taxpayers subsidize an average of about $9,000 a year for a student at CUNY or a SUNY four-year campus but an average of only $1,300 a year for a student at an independent college or university.
 "Tough budget choices in Albany have resulted in major funding cuts for higher education that have had a significant and long-lasting impact," said Oliva. "If New York State continues to retreat from its commitment to private higher education, driving more and more students into state schools, the cost to taxpayers will be enormous."
 For example, state funding for the College Work Study Program has been eliminated, and cutbacks in the state's Tuition Assistance Program have made it much more difficult for students from middle-income families to afford the school of their choice. And state aid to private colleges and universities, Bundy Aid, has been severely cut.
 The result at some schools has been a decrease in the number of course offerings, reduced library hours, cuts in student services and the inability to replace obsolete laboratory equipment.
 During this 10-year period of under-funding, an increasing number of New York State students have sought to go to college, while private institutions, despite their own budget constraints, have tried to offset the decline in student aid from their own resources.
 However, the NYU president said that he was encouraged by the emphasis put on education by the new administration in Washington and by a sense that the New York economy had hit bottom and might be on the upswing.
 "This is a time of great opportunity when careful and creative investment in higher education can yield dramatic results for our state's economy and the future of our citizens," said Oliva. "I urge our lawmakers in Albany to restore the cuts in student aid, to continue to support proven and successful educational outreach programs, and to work with us on innovative efforts for the future."
 -0- 2/23/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Dr. Oliva will be available for telephone interviews today/
 /CONTACT: Virgil Renzulli or Mariellen Gallagher of NYU, 212-998-6840/


CO: New York University ST: New York IN: SU:

GK-PS -- NY029 -- 9337 02/23/93 10:25 EST
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Date:Feb 23, 1993
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