Summary of CUNY Budget Request

Updated: January 28, 2020
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SUMMARY OF CUNY’S 2020-2021 OPERATING BUDGET REQUEST

  • The budget request is for funding the 2020-2021 academic year (FY 2021). 
  • CUNY’s request is for an additional $277.4 million above the current operating budget, a 7.5% increase.  If enacted as requested, CUNY’s total operating budget would rise to $3.98 billion next year.  
  • Under the CUNY management proposal, the proposed increases in the operating budget would be funded by increases from the State, the City, and CUNY students: a $200 per year tuition increase at both senior and community colleges, and a new $120 Health and Wellness fee, both starting 2020-2021. 
  • The total new operating funding requested (for mandatory cost increases and new programs) is virtually the same as last year:  $277.4 this year compared to $277.1 last year.  But the majority of new funds requested this year are for mandatory cost increases, not, as last year, for programs.  CUNY management is requesting that NY State and NYC cover mandatory cost increases of $178.5 million.  Mandatory costs increases include higher costs for building rentals, campus maintenance, fringe benefits and several contract settlements, including the PSC’s.  
  • Under mandatory cost increases, the CUNY request includes only partial coverage of the “TAP Gap”: $8.2 million, about 10 percent of the total.  The full TAP Gap is included in the Four-Year Plan as a reduction in total tuition revenue (i.e. total tuition and fees paid by students and financial aid payments). 
  • As part of the request, CUNY proposes that State aid to community colleges, which is on a per-FTE-student basis, increase by $250 to $3,197 per FTE student.  This would add $13 million to the community colleges’ operating budget. 
  • CUNY is asking to raise senior college tuition $200 to $7,130 annually.   (If enacted, this would be the last scheduled increase authorized by the Legislature under existing legislation.)  CUNY has also requested the first increase in community college tuition since the 2015-2016 academic year: $200 annually, for a total of $5,000.  If adopted, total tuition and fee revenue would increase by $46.9 million: $34.7 million from in-state students and $12.2 million from non-resident students.   
  • CUNY is also seeking a new $120 annual “wellness” fee, to be paid by all students.  Fees cannot be covered by New York State TAP grants, although they can be covered by federal Pell grants.
  • The proposed increased revenue from tuition hikes and the new  “wellness” fee would be directed to various new and existing programs and services.  CUNY’s request proposes $113.9 million in funding for new programs:  $76.3 million more for the senior colleges and $37. 6 more for the community colleges.  These are presented in four categories:
  • “expanding access and student success”: $46 million for creating 125 new full-time faculty positions per year for the next five years, and for various pre-college transition programs, current programs and extending on-line course offerings.
  • “embracing the future of work”: $30.9 million for career centers, paid internships, and the like, plus hiring an additional 64 full-time faculty over the next four years (or 16 per year) and to increase undergraduate research opportunities.
  • “student health”: funded by the proposed new student fee of $120 per year, $28 million for hiring 90 new mental health counselors and prescribing practitioners, for student health.
  • “strengthening infrastructure”: $9 million.

CUNY’s proposal calls for a substantial increase in the relatively small sum New York City provides to the senior colleges, dating back to the amount needed to support two-year degrees in these colleges.  CUNY wants New York City to increase its historic contribution of $32.3 million per year, an amount that has remained stagnant for two decades, by the rate of inflation in higher education, to $66.5 million.  

Prepared by PSC Staff, 12/8/19