Increased Public Funding for CUNY
As your constituent and one of the 30,000 faculty and staff at the City University of New York (CUNY), I urge you to fight for increased public funding for the CUNY operating budget in FY 2021.
New York State is starving CUNY of resources. Funding for the senior colleges has fallen 21 percent since FY 2009, adjusting for enrollment growth and inflation. Funding for the community colleges has increased, but not to the extent needed. The state's policy of not funding students' full Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) aid has worsened the disinvestment, punishing colleges that enroll large numbers of low-income students. CUNY lost $79 million this year to the "TAP Gap.”
Deep cuts to departments and services have been the result. CUNY faces shortages of supplies and equipment, limited hours for writing and tutoring centers, reduced hours for libraries and even reduced course offerings. In fact, 22 percent of CUNY students report being unable to register for a course needed for graduation. Albany's support for financial aid programs is admirable, but access to college without resources to ensure success is not enough!
The solution is more state investment, not annual tuition hikes. CUNY needs an additional $208 million for its senior colleges and $24.6 million for its community colleges in the FY 2021 State budget. The funding is needed to cover basic operating costs — including collective bargaining increases — to close the TAP Gap, raise community college Base Aid, add full-time faculty and counselor positions and improve working conditions for adjunct instructors.
Please speak up in conference for increased CUNY funding, fight to include it in your one-house budget and press your leadership to make it a priority in this year's budget negotiations.
To end the funding crisis at CUNY and invest in the other critical services, the state should fairly tax corporations, billionaires and the ultra-wealthy. It should be noted that 92 percent of New Yorkers support taxing the ultra-wealthy for the state budget, and I am part of that 92 percent.
A half-million New Yorkers are attending CUNY right now, seeking to remake their lives. I am counting on you to fight for the quality education they deserve!
Thank you for your consideration of this very important issue. I respectfully ask that you bring up this issue with your conference and with your leadership. I would greatly appreciate a response to this letter. Sincerely,
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