Published April 28, 2017
The details still need to be worked out, but overall Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s free public college tuition plan will be a good thing for students in New York, President Satish K. Tripathi said yesterday during his annual update to the Professional Staff Senate.
Tripathi touched on the new Excelsior Scholarship program and several topics over the course of a half hour at the PSS meeting yesterday in the Center for Tomorrow. “We are monitoring everyday what’s happening with it,” Tripathi said of the Excelsior program.
The Excelsior Scholarship will provide up to $5,500 to students who meet the program requirements, which include taking 30 credit hours over the course of a year, maintaining a required GPA and living in New York State for however many years they received the scholarship.
“There’s still things being worked out in terms of how this will impact students, but overall, providing more need-based financial aid to students is always a good thing,” Tripathi said.
Given that it’s a brand new program, there will be some challenges, the president pointed out. “Students have to accept offers by May 1 and the details of the plan are not out yet, so there’s going to be some confusion this year,” he said.
Tripathi also gave a brief update on the progress on the new Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences building downtown, saying that it’s 85 percent complete. Tripathi toured the building a few weeks ago and got a firsthand look at just how large the new state-of-the-art facility is. “I had my Fitbit on and I took more than 10,000 steps that day,” he joked.
Faculty and staff will begin moving into the new building in the fall, and classes will begin there in January 2018.
With the medical school moving downtown, Tripathi reiterated that plans call for at least two professional schools on the North Campus to move to the South Campus. The School of Social Work would be the first to relocate to Main Street, followed by the Graduate School of Education. Both moves are contingent upon the availability of state funding, but Tripathi said it’s important that the South Campus remains vibrant.
Both moves also would free up much-needed space on the North Campus, he added.
On the athletics side, Tripathi briefly touch on the proposed fieldhouse and noted that funding for that project will come entirely from outside sources, meaning no state funds will be used to fund this project. In addition, he said, the fieldhouse won’t be used only for athletics programs — it also will accommodate recreation and intramural programs as well, making it available to the wider student population.
With commencement season looming, Tripathi noted the changes this year to UB’s commencement schedule. Most notably, the ceremony for undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences, traditionally known as University Commencement, has been split into two ceremonies due to space issues. “There’s not enough room in Alumni Arena to accommodate all the parents who want to come,” Tripathi said, adding that more students are attending their own graduation ceremony now as compared to years past.
He concluded his remarks saying that UB is a university on the rise and that it’s becoming an increasingly attractive school to students and parents. That can be seen in the 7.5 percent increase in undergraduate applications that UB has seen this year, on top of the 10 percent increase in applications in 2016.