July 20, 2024

$10M Investment Will Support SUNY Students With Disabilities – Finger Lakes Daily News

State University of New York campuses are investing nearly $10 million in annual State funding to support students identifying with disabilities. Governor Kathy Hochul on Thursday said the funding was secured through this year’s $163 million increase in direct operating aid to SUNY’s State-operated campuses.

“As we champion inclusivity, we are marking a milestone in our commitment to ensuring every student has the opportunity to thrive in New York and at SUNY,” Governor Hochul said. “This historic funding underscores our dedication to creating an educational environment where everyone can pursue their dreams and achieve success. Together, we’re building a future where diversity is not just acknowledged but celebrated, and where the potential of every individual is recognized and nurtured.”

SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. visited SUNY College of Optometry, where he met with current and prospective students and researchers at the Clinical Vision Research Center. SUNY Optometry plans to utilize its $250,000 in funding to support students with disabilities by establishing a Center for Teaching and Learning, which will house the Office of Disability/Accessibility Services. Through the Center, SUNY Optometry will hire a learning specialist to guide students with disabilities in developing strategies to best support their specific learning profiles and assist faculty in adopting inclusive teaching approaches for such students.

Other SUNY campuses are utilizing their portion of the nearly $10 million state investment to expand services for students identifying with disabilities in a variety of ways, including:

  • All 29 State-operated campuses will hire staff to mitigate barriers and support students with disabilities, which includes disability services coordinators, learning specialists, physical accessibility specialists, and electronic information technology (EIT) accessibility officers. 
  • At least 25 campuses will purchase new accessibility technology and equipment for student and faculty use to ensure students can access course digital and in-person course content. 
  • At least 24 campuses will invest in improvements to the physical space of the campus to be more accessible for students with disabilities. 
  • At least 21 campuses will provide professional development to faculty on topics such as supporting students with disabilities. 
  • At least 8 programs are developing summer transition programs to help support students with disabilities transition from high school to the demands of college. 
  • At least 11 campuses are using the funds to support other innovative student-focused supports for students with disabilities.

A fact sheet outlining campus initiatives is available here.

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