PSC is a Member of the CUNY Rising Alliance
The CUNY Rising Alliance is a broad coalition of member organizations who serve, represent and minister to millions of New Yorkers. The communities and constituencies we work with are the most hurt by policies of austerity and disinvestment from public institutions like CUNY. Living in a city with record income inequality and profound, systemic racial disparities in education, our constituencies depend on a quality CUNY education to begin to level the playing field of opportunity. That’s why CUNY Rising is advocating for a Students’ Bill of Rights for ALL New Yorkers.
CUNY Rising White Paper Praises What Works At CUNY, Calls for $2B in Public Funding to End Chronic Disinvestment
The CUNY Rising Alliance and supporters are calling on Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo to phase in a $2 billion plan to fund free, high-quality education for all City University of New York students.
A new CUNY Rising white paper, released December 7 as a companion to the Students' Bill of Rights, explains the success of ASAP and CUNY’s other targeted student success programs. It also details the disinvestment that imperils CUNY’s mission to educate “the children of the whole people” of New York. From 2008 – 2015 per-student funding from the State fell 17% at CUNY senior colleges and 5% at community colleges, when adjusted for inflation. Per-student City funding for the community colleges fell 13% over the same period, when adjusted for inflation.
CUNY Rising's plan make ASAP-level supports available to all CUNY students. The groups propose approaching “free” from two directions. From one side, financial aid would be expanded to help more low-income and working families. From the other side, increases in City and State support would fund first a tuition freeze and then reductions in the sticker price of tuition. Thousands of full-time faculty and academic advisors would be hired; adjunct faculty would see their pay increased to $7,000 per course; and capital funding would be increased to repair, upgrade and expand CUNY’s aging and over-used facilities.
Every New Yorker should have access to a free, quality public higher education, the surest path to economic opportunity, financial security, intellectual and personal growth. For a half-million students a year, that path starts at CUNY—The City University of New York.
CUNY students, mostly people of color from low-income families, reside in every borough of the city and come from every corner of the world. They attend to get a high quality, affordable education after graduating from high school or after years of working. CUNY is often the only option for undocumented students. CUNY graduates add significantly to the city’s workforce, its culture and civic life, and to the economy as business leaders, scientists, teachers and nurses, elected officials, writers and artists, and more.
Yet, for all its accomplishments, CUNY, a once free opportunity, is falling far short of its potential because of years of public disinvestment. The decline in public funding per student and increases in tuition are compounded by the rising costs of transportation, food, housing and child care in New York City. Many students are struggling, and these challenges contribute to particularly lower completion rates for low to middle income people of color.
CUNY’s full-time faculty and staff are over strained and underpaid, and more than half of CUNY courses are taught by low-wage adjunct faculty hired on a per-course basis. Consequently the quality of a CUNY education is threatened because of greater difficulty in retaining full-time faculty and diminished access to instructors in and out of the classroom. This affects the quality of mentorship, retention and success of students. Campus buildings lack public spaces for students to gather, and too many buildings are deteriorating.
Albany and City Hall must invest in CUNY. Students have the fundamental right to:
Free Public Higher Education
- Public universities should be free for all New Yorkers, through lower costs and increased need-based state aid.
- Aid for books, class materials, transportation, food, child care, housing and other costs of attendance should be available to those who need it.
- Students should receive instruction from expert faculty who are reflective of the cultural composition of the student body.
- Faculty must be fairly compensated with workloads and class sizes that enable individualized student support.
- Full-time faculty need to teach a majority of courses and adjuncts should have secure positions and pay parity with their full-time colleagues.
- Support to Aid Retention and Completion
- Academic advisors and mental health counselors should have manageable caseloads and sufficient resources.
- Opportunity programs that provide tutoring, guidance, and other holistic supports must expand to meet the needs of all who require them.
Safe and Modern Learning Environments in Good Repair
- Critical maintenance projects should be completed quickly to protect everyone’s health and safety.
- Maintenance staffing levels should be increased so minor repairs can be made efficiently.
- Facilities should be equipped with state-of-the-art technology that is updated regularly.
- New construction should expand classroom space and course offerings to prevent overcrowding and provide communal spaces for academic, cultural and social activities.