CUNY students pay student activity fees along with their tuition. The amount allocated varies from campus to campus, anywhere from around $40 per full-time student at Hostos Community College to a little less than $165 at Queens College. Students elected to pay these fees, unlike other fees that are implemented by the Board of Trustees. In turn these fees fund groups, services and programs for students.
How these funds are distributed on each campus varies. One way students can fund a specific group can be determined by a referendum or a vote by the student body after 10 percent of a campus’s student body has signed a petition to bring an issue to referendum.
A University Student Senate analysis found the vast majority of fees cover services, often those that have been cut due to austere state funding. The fees have covered career services, health centers, a nurse at John Jay College and construction of a student building at Baruch College. CUNY officials initially sought to revamp this process and have college associations, consisting of faculty, administration and community members appointed by the college president and elected student leaders, approve funding.
DIMINISHED STUDENT CONTROL
CUNY students across the university organized against the dismantling of the student-led process for determining how their fees are spent, and they were successful in getting the university to revise some of their initial proposals – but not all. With the revisions, students can now hold referendums, but not to fund student groups. They can hold referendums to fund student services with administrative staff, and funding for student groups would be decided annually by the student government.