Entrance sign to Buffalo State University

Buffalo State University Announces Framework for Financial Sustainability, Plan to Ensure Long-Term Student and Campus Success


Buffalo State University announced its Framework for Financial Sustainability plan to capitalize on the university’s academic strengths, manage costs, and meet evolving student needs, positioning the campus as a premier university for Western New York and the State University of New York system.

In an address to the campus community and stakeholders Thursday, Buffalo State Interim President Bonita R. Durand, Ph.D., outlined a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach to eliminating the university’s $16.5 million structural deficit and maximizing the historic level of investment in the SUNY system by Governor Kathy Hochul’s administration over the past two years.

“I am confident that our Buffalo State University community can both ensure our long-term financial sustainability while continuing to do what we do best: delivering a high-quality educational experience for our students,” Durand said. “With the support of elected leadership, SUNY leadership, our community partners, our campus community and our Buffalo State family, we will solidify our role as a premier academic institution that meets students’ evolving needs for years to come.”

By coupling this plan to close the structural budget deficit with an infusion of historic levels of State funding, Buffalo State is putting itself in position for long-term financial and institutional health. Last year, SUNY provided Buffalo State with a $5.3 million increase in Direct State Tax Support, followed by another $2.8 million increase this year. That adds up to a combined total two-year increase in State support of nearly 40 percent. 

“With support from historic levels of State investment, Interim President Durand has outlined a thoughtful, well-planned vision for Buffalo State that balances tough but necessary choices with creative thinking, putting the university in the best possible position to achieve long-term financial health and growth,” SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. said. “A strong Buffalo State is integral to ensuring a strong SUNY system. Interim President Durand and the Buffalo State community have my full support in their work to secure a brighter future for the institution and, most importantly, our students.”

“As an active and supportive alumna, I am proud and confident in Interim President Durand's leadership, strategic vision and fiscal stewardship to address the university's existing $16.5 million deficit,” New York State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said. “Buffalo State is a critical regional institution for education and employment. With continued support from SUNY, I believe that the internal rightsizing underway will set Buffalo State University up for long-term financial health and success.”

“The Framework for Financial Sustainability plan that has been put forth by Interim President Bonita Durand inspires confidence in Buffalo State University's long-term future and the impact it will continue to have on the City of Buffalo and Western New York. This is the right leadership at the right time for Buffalo State,” New York State Senator Sean Ryan said. “I was pleased to join my colleagues in the New York State Legislature to work with Governor Hochul for a continued financial commitment to SUNY and its institutions across New York.”

The plan was developed in collaboration with SUNY experts and the shared governance structure. It carefully balances a series of measures designed to lean into the university’s strengths, reduce costs, increase revenues and invest in student success, including:

  • Leaning into Buffalo State’s strengths: The strategic vision for the university includes capitalizing on areas where Buffalo State excels, such as by:
    • Creating new teacher education pipelines to help meet New York state’s teacher shortage;
    • Nurturing STEM programs that focus on applied learning to make Buffalo State a key anchor of the upstate NY SMART I-Corridor Tech Hub; 
    • Leveraging Buffalo’s place as an epicenter of arts, culture and tourism to bolster art and hospitality programs; 
    • Reviving a pipeline that prepares Buffalo State students to seamlessly pursue their Ph.D. through the University at Buffalo;
  • Creating Buffalo State’s first doctorate for Creative Studies, under review by SUNY.
  • Increasing and stabilizing enrollment: Buffalo State enrollment has declined by 42 percent over the last decade. However, the campus saw an increase in first-time undergraduate enrollment in Fall 2023, which is a hopeful sign. As a university at the center of the Western New York educational landscape, the plan calls for the continuation of intensive recruitment through local opportunities like an Early Middle College agreement with Buffalo Public Schools, as well as through outreach in high-growth areas of the state like New York City. The plan also focuses on student retention through support programs like Roar 2 Success and a revised academic advising structure.
  • Thirty-seven degree programs, certification titles, concentrations, minors and certificates — which collectively enroll 34 students, or 0.6 percent of the overall student population — have been identified for deactivation and discontinuation. To date, 27 of those have been vetted through Buffalo State University processes and have either completed or are in review at the SUNY and state levels. Buffalo State will no longer be admitting students to these programs, and all students currently enrolled in these programs will be able to complete their degrees. An additional 10 programs are under review for deactivation by Spring 2025.
  • Optimization of workforce: A previously announced 12-month campus-wide hiring freeze will remain in place, as will a phased retirement program. The university also will implement a voluntary separation program thanks to funding from the Buffalo State Foundation. The university will continue reviewing operating expenses to determine areas where academic and non-academic departments may be over-subscribed with personnel who can help fill vacancies elsewhere, as well as where consolidation can lead to efficiencies.

“Interim President Bonita Durand has developed a plan, created in collaboration with numerous Buffalo State University stakeholders, that builds upon this institution's high standards," Buffalo State Council Chair Linda Dobmeier said. "Buffalo State will continue to be recognized as a university that supports its students and develops them into leaders who can positively impact our region and state.”

Visit Buffalo State University’s Framework for Financial Sustainability website for more information.

Read more:

Photo by Jesse Steffan-Colucci, Buffalo State photographer.