The Maintenance of Effort bill has been vetoed, despite having passed both houses of the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill won widespread support because it would have ensured that the state’s public universities, CUNY and SUNY, receive funding to cover mandatory costs such as rent and electricity increases, negotiated salary agreements, and the difference between the highest TAP award and the actual cost of tuition.
Without such funding in place, CUNY has been forced to cannibalize its own inadequate budget and increase the amount students pay in tuition and fees in order to cover costs that should be publicly funded. CUNY colleges have cut back on academic courses and computer support, reduced library hours, shortchanged student services and increased their reliance on adjunct faculty, who are paid a near-poverty wage.
A progressive state should provide the funding necessary to maintain high-quality college education at its public universities. The PSC is grateful to the legislators who championed the bill, and we will work with the Legislature and the Governor during the budget process to make 2019 the year in which CUNY is fully funded.