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Reserves will plug $2.8 million gap next year

Buffalo State College will use reserve funds to plug a $2.8 million budget gap next year, one of the lingering effects of cuts to public higher education in recent years.

Buffalo State President Aaron M. Podolefsky, in his State of the College address Thursday in Rockwell Hall, talked about the college's shortfall, its budget situation and the job of providing students with quality, access and affordability.

"It's a really tough challenge," he said. "It takes creativity and hard work."

Tuition increases planned for state colleges and universities the next few years and promises by the state to maintain a consistent level of funding should eventually help stabilize campus finances, after several rocky budget cycles.

But for now, the college will use its "modest reserves" to bridge the gap between revenues and operating expenses, Podolefsky said. He gave no indication the shortfall would mean staff or program cuts.

Meanwhile, the college is doing what it can to boost revenue and cut costs, Podolefsky said.

Buffalo State generated $1 million in new revenue with changes to class offerings during the summer and midsemester terms. In addition, the college is looking to save money by sharing more services with the University at Buffalo. Buffalo State also is planning a fundraising campaign for need- and merit-based scholarships, Podolefsky said.

Still, he said, there are several high-profile projects under construction and in the works at Buffalo State, among them a $40 million student apartment complex planned for the campus by 2015. It would be the second housing project at Buffalo State, which opened 125 four-bedroom apartments at Grant and Letchworth streets in the fall. The proposed student apartments are tentatively targeted for a parking lot on Grant, just across the street from the new complex, a Buffalo State official said.

The annual State of the College address was scheduled a little later this year due to chemotherapy treatments that Podolefsky has been undergoing for prostate cancer, a diagnosis he announced in November.

email: jrey@buffnews.com