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Home » Issues » Fight for Full State Funding of CUNY FY2019

Fight for Full State Funding of CUNY FY2019

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State Budget Fails to Increase Senior College Operating Funds

CUNY’s preliminary analysis of the newly enacted State budget shows a $97.8 million increase in funding for CUNY senior colleges. But most of the money comes from increased tuition and from funding that must cover existing fringe benefits. There are essentially no new public funds to improve operations at the senior colleges. Investments in academic quality and student success for the senior colleges must become a priority for Albany. Albany and CUNY management should not settle for tuition hikes as the only source of increased funding.

The enacted budget also includes $5 million more for the CUNY community colleges and restores State funds cut by the governor in his Executive Budget for programs such as SEEK, ASAP and the childcare centers.

PSC President Barbara Bowen commented: “I want to thank every PSC member who met with and called your legislators in Albany. Your efforts were essential in gaining restorations of funds initially cut and in securing more community college funding. Now we must call on the CUNY administration, which describes the State budget as an increase, to ensure that there are no cut-backs at the senior colleges and that the new teaching load reduction is fully funded.”

One-House Budgets Invest in CUNY

Both the State Senate and Assembly have passed one-house budget resolutions that increase investment in CUNY. The resolutions name the priorities of the two houses and set the table for the final budget negotiations. The Senate proposes a $40 million increase in operating support for the senior colleges. The Assembly would increase senior college support by $12.1 million in a CUNY Labor Contingency Reserve. Both houses would increase funding for CUNY community colleges by $100 per FTE student ($6.3 million).

Click here to place a call to your state legislators via the NYSUT Member Action Center.

Click here to send a letter to your legislators urging them to fight hard for a final state budget that makes the maximum possible investment in CUNY students’ success.

Both the Senate and the Assembly would restore proposed cuts to ASAP, and increase investment in CUNY’s capital budget. The Assembly resolution would restore proposed cuts to SEEK, College Discovery and other opportunity programs and would increase funding for those programs by 20%. The DREAM Act, which would give undocumented students access to state financial aid, is in the Assembly budget resolution, but not the Senate’s.

The Assembly budget resolution includes a new Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship for low-income students’ non-tuition costs ($25 million). The Senate includes a measure allowing firefighters to take up to two CUNY courses that pertain to their line of work for free.

Both of this year’s one-house budgets also include a robust Maintenance of Effort (MOE) to give CUNY the resources it needs. The Legislature has twice passed stand-alone MOE legislation, but twice the bills have been vetoed. The highest priority provision of the MOE calls for elimination of the “TAP Gap,” caused by the law requiring CUNY to waive the difference between full-time tuition and $5,000 for students receiving full TAP awards. The $59 million CUNY lost this year because of the TAP Gap could have helped to reduce CUNY’s shortages of full-time faculty and academic advisors and to support investments in student mentorship and adjunct faculty.

Click here to send a letter to your legislators urging them to fight hard for a final state budget that makes the maximum possible investment in CUNY students’ success.

Message and Materials

CUNY is a national leader among colleges in moving students from poverty into the middle class, but it needs additional resources. New York has invested significant resources in students’ financial access to college, but too little in students’ success when they are enrolled.

Long-term public disinvestment and failure to provide the funds needed to keep up with CUNY’s growing enrollment have led to a dire shortage of full-time faculty, exploitation of thousands of low-wage adjunct faculty, less individual attention for students, and tuition hikes.

Download CUNY Changes Lives, a booklet urging Albany lawmakers to fulfill the promise of CUNY.

Download the PSC’s full budget agenda for the Fiscal Year 2019 state budget.

Send a letter urging your legislators to support the PSC’s budget agenda.

The PSC’s priority requests for the CUNY budget

  • $59 million to cover the “TAP Gap,” caused by the law requiring CUNY to waive the difference between full-time tuition (currently $6,530 for senior college students) and $5,000 for students receiving full TAP awards. This policy has a noble goal: to shield low-income students from rising tuition costs. But it is eating an ever-larger hole in CUNY’s operating budget.
  • $16 million to increase Community College Base Aid by $253 per FTE student. This would raise the rate to $3,000 per student and relieve pressure on the community colleges to raise tuition.
  • $50 million to begin a three-year “CUNY Student Success Initiative” that would ultimately contribute $150 million toward hiring full-time faculty, increasing adjunct faculty salaries to $7,000 per course, hiring academic advisors, and improving advisement technology and student services.

Get The Facts about CUNY Adjuncts: Why an Increase in Adjunct Pay to $7000 per Course is Essential for Student Success

More In This Section

The PSC is partnering with the Strong Economy For All coalition to campaign for progressive tax policies that will ensure that New York’s budget is not balanced on the backs of working people. On Friday, March 9, the union helped to organize a demonstration and street-side press conference outside the New York Stock Exchange calling for a Stock Buyback Transfer Tax. Large, profitable corporations are using their windfall from the federal tax cuts to buy back stocks and make their richest shareholders richer rather than to create jobs and to increase worker pay. A mere .5% transfer tax on stock buyback trades could raise $2 billion a year in New York for affordable housing, healthcare and quality public education from kindergarten through CUNY. Click here for a cable news piece about the tax featuring our coalition partners from the Fiscal Policy Institute, which aired throughout upstate New York. Click here for photos and the release about the Wall Street event.

Albany, 2/28/18 — More than 500 college students, faculty and staff are in Albany as part of a statewide Higher Education Action Day urging lawmakers to increase state funding for the State University and the City University of New York—SUNY and CUNY. The governor’s Executive Budget holds state spending for SUNY’s and CUNY’s instructional core budgets essentially flat, and increases tuition for students who don’t qualify for the Excelsior Scholarship or other financial aid.

PSC officers were in Albany Tuesday, January 23 to testify before a joint hearing of the State Senate and Assembly finance committees on the Executive Budget for higher education. President Bowen, in her testimony, said, “New York State has invested strongly in student access to higher education through the Excelsior Scholarship and the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), but has failed to invest sufficiently in student success. Access is not meaningful without the resources to succeed. As New York invests more in access, it must also increase investment in the personnel and programs needed to educate CUNY’s growing student body so the greater access will be meaningful.” Read President Bowen’s full testimony.

PSC Statement On the Executive Budget for CUNY, FY2019

Thanks in part to the promise of the Excelsior Scholarship, applications to The City University of New York (CUNY) were up 11% and CUNY enrolled its largest-ever freshman class in Fall 2017. The increase in students seeking a college degree at CUNY is cause for celebration—but only if the University is funded at a level that enables these students to succeed. Our legislators must improve on the Governor’s Executive Budget by reversing the historic underfunding of CUNY and adding new funding to support the increased enrollment.

The increase in student enrollment exacerbates the longstanding problem of New York State underfunding of CUNY. The underfunding is most visible in CUNY’s crumbling buildings and classrooms. Less visible but equally damaging is the impact on students of inadequate investment in the courses and support they need in order to graduate on time. An increase in enrollment, especially through the Excelsior Scholarship, should be accompanied by an increase in funding. The Excelsior Scholarship makes the need for new resources more critical because recipients must have access to courses in sequence and must receive the advising necessary to stay on pace for graduation.

More In This Section

The PSC is partnering with the Strong Economy For All coalition to campaign for progressive tax policies that will ensure that New York’s budget is not balanced on the backs of working people. On Friday, March 9, the union helped to organize a demonstration and street-side press conference outside the New York Stock Exchange calling for a Stock Buyback Transfer Tax. Large, profitable corporations are using their windfall from the federal tax cuts to buy back stocks and make their richest shareholders richer rather than to create jobs and to increase worker pay. A mere .5% transfer tax on stock buyback trades could raise $2 billion a year in New York for affordable housing, healthcare and quality public education from kindergarten through CUNY. Click here for a cable news piece about the tax featuring our coalition partners from the Fiscal Policy Institute, which aired throughout upstate New York. Click here for photos and the release about the Wall Street event.

Albany, 2/28/18 — More than 500 college students, faculty and staff are in Albany as part of a statewide Higher Education Action Day urging lawmakers to increase state funding for the State University and the City University of New York—SUNY and CUNY. The governor’s Executive Budget holds state spending for SUNY’s and CUNY’s instructional core budgets essentially flat, and increases tuition for students who don’t qualify for the Excelsior Scholarship or other financial aid.

PSC officers were in Albany Tuesday, January 23 to testify before a joint hearing of the State Senate and Assembly finance committees on the Executive Budget for higher education. President Bowen, in her testimony, said, “New York State has invested strongly in student access to higher education through the Excelsior Scholarship and the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), but has failed to invest sufficiently in student success. Access is not meaningful without the resources to succeed. As New York invests more in access, it must also increase investment in the personnel and programs needed to educate CUNY’s growing student body so the greater access will be meaningful.” Read President Bowen’s full testimony.

PSC Statement On the Executive Budget for CUNY, FY2019

Thanks in part to the promise of the Excelsior Scholarship, applications to The City University of New York (CUNY) were up 11% and CUNY enrolled its largest-ever freshman class in Fall 2017. The increase in students seeking a college degree at CUNY is cause for celebration—but only if the University is funded at a level that enables these students to succeed. Our legislators must improve on the Governor’s Executive Budget by reversing the historic underfunding of CUNY and adding new funding to support the increased enrollment.

The increase in student enrollment exacerbates the longstanding problem of New York State underfunding of CUNY. The underfunding is most visible in CUNY’s crumbling buildings and classrooms. Less visible but equally damaging is the impact on students of inadequate investment in the courses and support they need in order to graduate on time. An increase in enrollment, especially through the Excelsior Scholarship, should be accompanied by an increase in funding. The Excelsior Scholarship makes the need for new resources more critical because recipients must have access to courses in sequence and must receive the advising necessary to stay on pace for graduation.


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