CUNY TUITION FREEZE CAMPAIGN
In June 2011, the New York State Legislature passed a law, subsequently signed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, empowering the State University of New York (SUNY) and the CUNY Board of Trustees to increase the resident undergraduate rate of tuition by no more than three hundred ($300) dollars per academic year for five years ending in the 2015-16 academic year.
The five year increase in the undergraduate rate of tuition totals to approximately a 30.4% increase from Fall 2011 to Spring 2016.
Meanwhile, New York State’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) has failed to keep up with the rising cost of undergraduate tuition with a current maximum award of $5,135—$1,195 less than the 2015-2016 undergraduate rate at CUNY senior colleges.
The State has failed to cover the increasing fixed costs that include health insurance and pensions, and contractually mandated annual salary increases as part of the maintenance of effort provision in the aforementioned 2011 law.
As a result, CUNY has experienced a $51 million budget gap in funding for mandatory costs, and CUNY forecasts similar gaps in 2016 and beyond further representing the continual divestment of the state from public higher education. Meanwhile, CUNY has experienced record enrollment numbers and an overwhelming majority of our students and alumni live and work in New York City.
These budget gaps will most likely be abated by students through additional tuition hikes.Instead of passing the buck, it is time to invest the buck in CUNY. The state's investments will be returned through increased tax contributions over the lifetimes of our current and future students.
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 2016 legislative session to fully fund the University’s operating budget request without authorizing any tuition increases at CUNY.
We also implore the state legislature to reform and modernize the state’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) so more students are afforded access to crucial financial aid.