In a letter to New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, USS Chairperson Joseph Awadjie urged the governor to sign a bill recently passed by the New York Legislature requiring the state to fully fund all increasing mandatory costs as part of NYSUNY2020's maintenanace of effort (MOE) provision.
Chairperson Awadjie's letter reads:
"Dear Governor Cuomo,
On behalf of CUNY’s University Student Senate (USS), I write to express our strong support for Bill A5370A-2015/S281A-2015, which requires the state to cover mandatory cost as part of the maintenance of effort, and Bill A07388/S05217, establishing a robust five-year capital plan for the SUNY and CUNY systems.
I think we can agree that the students at CUNY—who elected me to represent them on the CUNY Board of Trustees—have paid their share of incremental tuition fees over the past five years. As we enter the fifth and last year of planned incremental tuition increases, students deserve to see the state hold their end of the bargain by funding the cost we all thought would have been covered when the incremental tuition plan was adopted.
Students at CUNY should not have to continue to cover the University’s operating budget gaps. Although CUNY’s tuition price remains relatively affordable, 54% of all CUNY students live in households with a household income less than $29,999. Tuition increases only further burdens us and erect insurmountable obstacles that impede our effort to obtain a quality higher education. Requiring the state to cover mandatory costs would reinforce our state’s commitment to ensuring our public universities continue to be leading institutions of higher education.
Thanks to the leadership of Assembly Committee on Higher Education Chair Deborah J. Glick, and Senate Higher Education Committee Chair Kenneth P. LaValle, both bills have a wide array of supporters throughout the state; most evident by the overwhelming bipartisan support the Bill received in both legislative chambers.
In addition, both bills provide a unique opportunity for you to truly be the nation's leading governor on higher education. New York State is home to two of the top three largest and leading public higher education systems in the country. The State of New York is truly at an important junction in prioritizing its support on behalf of public higher education and helping SUNY and CUNY maintain a quality academic and community environment. We are looking to you for the leadership that New York State needs and deserves.
We strongly urge your signature on Bill A5370A/S281A and Bill A07388/S05217. Thank you."