ALBANY, N.Y. (April 22, 2024) – On April 19, The Buffalo News published CICU President Lola W. Brabham’s editorial regarding protecting Bundy Aid:

“New York has an unparalleled higher education ecosystem. Comprised of two public systems and over 100 independent, nonprofit colleges, New York educates over 1 million students every year. The world-class education provided to graduates from these colleges is a major factor in attracting and retaining business investment in our state.  

Yet, the proposed FY 2025 Executive Budget threatens this ecosystem by eliminating Unrestricted Aid to Independent Colleges and Universities, commonly known as Bundy Aid, for campuses with endowment assets exceeding $750 million. This decision reflects a misunderstanding of endowments and their role in supporting student access and success. 

An endowment is a collection of assets donated to nonprofits, such as universities, invested to generate income for long-term sustainability. At New York’s independent colleges and universities, nearly half of the revenue generated from endowments went towards student aid. It is also used to fund research initiatives, support new academic programs, maintain libraries and other facilities, help attract and retain talented professors and staff, and for public service initiatives in their local communities.  

Bundy Aid was created in the 1960s at a time when the state was making huge investments in the public system of higher education to acknowledge the importance of public and private sectors working together for the good of students and the state. While New York continues to rightfully make significant investments in the public sector, Bundy Aid, the only state operating aid the independent nonprofit sector receives, has been dramatically underfunded for decades – currently it is funded at just 18 percent of statutory levels.  

Bundy Aid is outcome-based and student-focused which means colleges receive funding based on the number of degrees they confer, and the funding is invested back into student aid and support programs that help more students graduate.  

Almost 86% of students at New York’s independent colleges and universities receive financial aid, with our schools providing over $7.3 billion in aid to students. This comprises 90% of the financial aid students receive, with the federal government providing an additional 7% while New York State provides just 3%. Those same schools educate 44 percent of the total students and award 58 percent of all bachelor’s and graduate degrees. That is a phenomenal return on the state’s investment. 

This cut in student aid will increase costs for hardworking students and their families, who rely on the financial support provided by Bundy Aid to enable them to pursue their dream of a college degree. New York should not be balancing its budget on the backs of these students. Nor should the state punish colleges and universities for thoughtful and careful planning to ensure they can deliver higher levels of value to students and local communities than would otherwise be possible.”

Read The Buffalo News Op-Ed here.


About the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York: CICU represents the public policy interests of more than 100 independent colleges and universities in New York State. Founded in 1956 by a small group of college and university presidents, CICU is an educational corporation formed under the New York State Regents whose mission is to provide opportunity and access to higher education through fairness, equity, and humanity.

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