The State budget adopted March 28 provides basically flat funding for CUNY, with senior college operating aid of $525 million. State base aid to community colleges was increased by $150 per full-time-equivalent student (FTE), up to $2,422 per FTE, bringing an additional $9.3 million to CUNY community colleges.
Overall, about half of CUNY’s $70 million in mandatory cost increases is covered.
$45 million was approved for CUNY’s capital budget, including $8 million toward projects at CUNY community colleges. The budget provides for $55 million in capital funding for challenge grants in a competitive award program dubbed “NYCUNY 2020.”
The legislature authorized this year’s installment of the $300 annual tuition increases approved in 2011. Up to $61 million in revenue is thus to be provided by digging deeper into the pockets of CUNY’s senior college students. The PSC argued that tuition hikes are bad policy, because they restrict college access and are not a realistic source for the re-investment that CUNY badly needs.
Progressive tax reform is needed to give CUNY colleges the support that they deserve, the union said.
In funding for individual programs, an additional $551,000 was provided for the SEEK Program, bringing its total funding to $18.4 million. An additional $1.7 million was provided for CUNY’s ASAP program, which provides increased academic and financial support to a pilot group of community college students. An additional $750,000 was approved for the Joseph Murphy Institute, bringing its state support to a total of $1.25 million.
The PSC and its state affiliate, NY State United Teachers, defeated the most dangerous part of the proposed “Next Generation NY Job Linkage Program,” which would have tied base-aid funding for certain community college degree programs to a “pay for performance” model, as measured by graduates’ employment. This would have put community college funding at risk due to factors such as a national recession, over which a college has little control.
A smaller part of the program won approval, with $2 million in incentive grants to be given to CUNY community colleges that successfully “place vocational students in the workforce.”