To understand the foundation for the non-regimental population at NY Maritime, one must first recognize how the State University system distributes fuding among its 60+ campuses. The keyword is enrollment.
In 2001 NY Maritime was struggling to meet enrollment figures and thus received the short end of the stick with SUNY funding. SUNY administrators failed to recognize the advantages and concept behind the oldest maritime academy in the country which happened to be under their control. The training ship represented the largest single cost item to the school, and even filled to capacity with cadets, their tuition alone would not allow Maritime College to pay their bills.
The first idea to come about was the most obvious - do away with the training ship and license program. The SUNY Maritime Alumni Association, (now the Fort Schuyler Maritime Alumni Association) went ballistic. The training ship was literally the very foundation of the institution, the license program the whole reason for its existence, and the two depend entirely on each other.
Public Law 81-755Edit
SUNY also came to realize another important aspect, the Federal Land Grant which leased the Throggs Neck peninsula to the college came with conditions. According to the grant which was codified as Public Law 81-755, "Such conveyance shall contain the express provision that... if the State of New York shall at any time cease to use the property so conveyed as a maritime school, devoted exclusively to purposes of nautical education, title thereto shall revert to the United States."
No matter how SUNY spun it, they would not be able to justify to the federal government that a school lacking a merchant marine license program was "devoted exclusively to purposes of nautical education."
The Final SolutionEdit
The solution to this unique problem turned out to be easy. How do you fund a training ship that can't be funded by those that actually use it? Enroll tuition paying students under a non-regimented system with an ambiguous degree program and get them to pay for it! The idea, though hated by cadets, works. By the nature that they are non-regimented, they CAN'T participate on the training ship, and not only is that more tuition to the pot, but enrollment figures will be boosted and the training ship can stay.
In the end, what this means is that the non-regimented program is merely a funding source for the actual heart of the school: the Regiment.