BUDGET GAPS LEAD TO TUITION HIKES
In June 2011, Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature passed NY SUNY 2020. Dubbed the new 'rational tuition program' for SUNY and CUNY, it enacted increased tuition annually at SUNY and CUNY by $300 per year for five years.
Initially, the Governor and State Legislature promised the increased tuition would go towards enhancing student services; less crowded classrooms, more academic mentoring, and more counseling and advising available for students. In addition, SUNY 2020 included an important provision known as the "maintenance of effort," which stipulated that the legislature would not reduce SUNY’s or CUNY’s general operating funds in following budgets. This was to ensure that increased tuition would not be offset by decreased state support.
However, the “maintenance of effort” provision excludes certain mandatory, predictable cost increases. Actions by the legislature to amend this underscores that the SUNY2020 law does not keep whole the systems’ general operating funds, consistent with the law’s stated intention.
A recent report by the New York Public Interest Research Group [conservitavely] estimates the tuition price tag for SUNY 2020 has cost students $2.5 billion in additional public college tuition payments. While the promise from the state was that students would have to cough up more money every year to enhance student services on their campus; the report highlights that, in fact, did not occur. Instead, the increased tuition went to fill in state budget gaps.
Due to stagnant state support, student groups and faculty unions alike have shared stories at various hearings throughout the state, citing library hour cuts, limited course offerings which further delay students from graduating on time, and hiring freezes across the board, to name a few. While tuition has gone up more than 42% since 2011, it’s clear the money is not being invested in student support services, but instead, footing the bill where the state refuses to. On June 24, 2019, at the final Board of Trustees meeting where CUNY's budget was up for a vote (including another tuition hike), CUNY's CFO, Michael Sapienza stated that the budget required senior colleges to set aside funds for future labor costs from collective bargaining contracts.
In January 2020, Governor Cuomo proposed tuition increases of no more than $200 per year for another 5 years, through AY 2024-25. The Student Senate rejects this new proposal. Students should not have to pay more money to sit in labor reserves or fill in holes where the state refuses to. Students in NYC are already food insecure. They are already housing insecure. Our students cannot afford another round of tuition hikes.
USS rejects the renewal of NY SUNY 2020 and calls on the State Legislature to oppose any new tuition hikes through AY 2024-25.
USS asks that the Legislature include funding in their budget to freeze tuition at senior colleges and ultimately move to a free CUNY.
We urge the legislators of the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate to fulfill the spirit of Section 6201 of the New York State Education Law which states that “there should be full state funding of senior college operating and debt service” by rejecting the governor’s proposed budget cuts and enacting necessary legislation during the 2020 legislative session to fully fund the University’s operating budget request without authorizing any tuition increases at CUNY.
Tell Your Legislators to #FundCUNYNow
click the link below to find the petition on CUNY Rising site:
Most years since @NYGovCuomo took office in 2011, @CUNY tuition had been raised. At the same time, state support has remained stagnant. CUNY students graduate & benefit NY's economy by the billion$. Now we need the State to #InvestInCUNY by freezing tuition & filling the TAP gap
It’s time for Albany to scrap the 2% spending cap and #MakeBillionairesPay. State/public agencies shouldn’t be limited by an arbitrary cap, which had already stood in the way of the need to #FUNDCUNYNow. @LizKrueger @AndreaSCousins @SenGianaris @NYGovCuomo @CarlHeastie