Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal falls far short of what’s needed for CUNY, which needs $208 million more for its senior colleges and $24.6 million for its community colleges. Here is what the PSC is pushing for in the state budget this year.
Unmet mandatory needs $97 million
Offset the “TAP gap” $79 million
New faculty/staff $30 million
Restore senior college funds $2 million
Community college base aid $18 million
Restore comm. college fund $6.6 million
CUNY total $250.6 million
Full funding of CUNY’s operating costs ($97 Million)
The Executive Budget proposes $24 million for fringe benefit increases at CUNY senior colleges, half the amount CUNY requested for fringe benefits and almost $100 million less than is needed to cover mandatory cost increases overall. CUNY needs funding to cover its full fringe benefit costs and collective bargaining increases, plus funding for rent, energy and critical operating maintenance.
Allocate funds to offset the full TAP Gap ($79 Million)
The “TAP gap” is the difference between the amount the state pays to support the education of the 56,000 TAP recipients at CUNY senior colleges and the actual tuition cost of their education. Tuition is currently $6,930 at CUNY senior colleges, but the state’s TAP payment to CUNY is capped at $5,000 per student. By law, the $1,930 difference must be waived. The TAP gap grows with every tuition hike. The waivers of all TAP recipients this year will amount to a combined $79 million in lost revenue. Next year’s planned tuition hike would increase the TAP gap further.
Increase Base Aid by $250 per FTE ($18 Million)
The Executive Budget would reduce funding for CUNY community colleges by $3.6 million due to enrollment declines. CUNY community college students are predominantly low-income people of color. Many are first-generation college students and new immigrants. They need more resources at their colleges, not fewer. The base aid rate of funding for community colleges should be increased by $250 from $2,947 per FTE (full-time equivalent) to $3,197 per FTE to fund education and services.
Fund new mental health counselors, full-time faculty lines and advisors (NYS: $30 Million, NYC: $30 Million)
CUNY students need expanded mental health services, counseling and other support services, and the state and city should each provide part of the funding. CUNY students, who face high rates of homelessness and food insecurity, should not be burdened with another fee. The ratio of students to mental health counselors is an outrageously high 2,700:1. CUNY has 4,000 fewer full-time faculty today than in 1975, though it has 24,000 more students, and the student-to-advisor ratios are as high as 1,500:1 at some colleges.
Restore Legislative Investments in ASAP, Etc. ($8.6 Million)
The Executive Budget eliminates funding added by the legislature to targeted programs at CUNY, including the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), the CUNY School for Labor and Urban Studies (SLU), CUNY LEADs and CUNY child care centers.