Cuomo’s Proposed Budget for CUNY Doesn’t Fare Well With Faculty

(PHOTO BY PSC CUNY)
(PHOTO BY PSC CUNY)

A proposed budget for CUNY over the next fiscal year submitted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo got a lukewarm response from CUNY administrators and a rebuke from the teacher’s union.
          CUNY was provided a budget where mandatory funding of fringe benefits, like health insurance for CUNY employees, will be paid for and colleges will receive funding for critical maintenance of both senior colleges and community colleges.
          The school received $55 million dollars for the 2020 Challenge Grant Program, allowing CUNY to increase tuition by $300 dollars a year for the next five years.  CUNY also received funding for the STEM-Science, Technology, Engineering and Math initiative, which offers free tuition to the top ten high school students wishing to enter the STEM field.
          Most students feel opposition to CUNY being able to increase tuition.
          “It gets harder for me to pay especially when I don’t have financial aid at the moment,” said Computer Information Systems major Gary Austin Jr. from Borough of Manhattan Community College
          Gov. Cuomo received notice on Jan. 8 of the funding, and two weeks later on Jan. 21, Cuomo issued an Executive Budget to CUNY, which is currently under review by the University office.
          Along with raising tuition, CUNY also plans to cut funding for programs like SEEK ($551,300), ASAP ($1.7 million), Community College Child Care ($500,000) and College Discover ($26,900).  CUNY is seeking additional resources for the Black Male Initiative ($2.5 million), Single Stop ($1 million) and CUNY Start and College Now ($5 million).
          “Everyone deserves a chance to have a good education,” said Political Science major Tatiana Sangare from Brooklyn College.
          “I don’t think it’s a good idea,” said psychology major Kermide Bienhaime. “These programs benefit students in a certain way to keep them up with their academic standards.”
          The University is giving students, parents and faculty the option to tell the members of the New York City Legislature and members of the higher education committees, in a sample letter online, to plead with them not to cut funding from programs like SEEK on their website. However, according to Interim Chancellor Williams P. Kelly, the budget is to “provide financial stability and a number of opportunities to build upon the University’s strengths and assets”.

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