It's the SUNY Chancellor’s third annual State of the University Address. Our Vince Gallagher was there to get this year's lesson plan.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher started off her State of the University Address with a question many are also asking: Is college worth it?
"Investing in a low cost, high quality college education is simply the best investment anyone or any country can make for its citizens," Zimpher said.
Some agree with this philosophy. President Obama's goal is to have an additional ten million students graduate by 2020 and the College Board is looking to increase the number of Americans with a college degree by 55 percent. But education also depends on the economy and vice versa
Zimpher said, "We need a comprehensive plan to get more students into college, graduating on time and graduating ready for successful careers.”
The chancellor then laid out some new programs on how to meet those goals. First is the online degree program Open SUNY, which is scheduled to launch in 2014.
"In three years, SUNY will enroll 100,000 degree-seeking students in Open SUNY, making us the largest online provider in education in the nation," Zimpher said.
Next, a three year program known as the SUNY Smart Track, designed to help reduce student debt.
Zimpher said, "Every campus will adopt this program by next year using the newly developed financial aid based on President Obama's federal aid shopping sheet."
Speaking of the president, the address also featured a statement on the growing importance of education and employment in Upstate New York.
"Got some of the best workers in the world. You've got an outstanding university system. Now I want what's happening in Albany to happen all across the country," President Obama said.
Then it's on to the SUNY Innovation Hub, developed in partnership with the state's for cities across New York and a program.
"This will create some of the experiential education opportunities we need for our students and connect all the relevant research and development in these communities towards a common vision,” said Zimpher.
The chancellor also commented on the growing importance of health care education and the benefits behind students working with employers in their field. Zimpher says these goals will be worked upon in the upcoming years, while creating a stronger partnership among SUNY campuses.