ND4C Would Make CUNY Tuition Free Again & Set Minimum Faculty, Advisor & Counselor To Student Ratios
New York, NY - on Friday, February 25, the City Council’s Committee on Higher Education advanced a resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, The New Deal for CUNY (S.4461-A/A.5843-A). The resolution, which is co-sponsored by a majority of the City Council, demonstrates growing support for the New Deal for CUNY legislation that is sponsored by seventy state lawmakers and counting.
From the resolution: “Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, The New Deal for CUNY (S.4461-A/A.5843-A), which is intended to reestablish the City University of New York as an engine for social and economic mobility by waiving all tuition and creating certain staff-to-student ratios in order to increase student success.
Whereas, The CUNY New Deal presents a comprehensive approach to improving the student experience at CUNY, providing the appropriate academic, social and emotional support students need to stay on track to graduate and providing the resources needed to renovate CUNY campuses while reducing the need for students to seek outside income to cover tuition and other expenses.”
“We are proud to see so many members of the City Council support the New Deal for CUNY - an urgent vision needed to reverse years of disinvestment from the university system,” said Professional Staff Congress President James Davis, Ph.D. “State leaders should heed this call from the New York City Council, pass the ND4C and ensure it is funded in this year’s budget. CUNY has been a critical institution and pathway for New Yorkers towards economic mobility - let’s make sure that is the case for generations to come.”
“For decades, CUNY has not only made higher education possible for New Yorkers of all backgrounds but it has been a proven stepping stone to economic prosperity,” said Councilmember Justin Brannan, primary sponsor of the resolution. “That is why I believe now is the time for us to double down on our city's public higher education system…The goal here is simple: prevent further cuts to CUNY, reverse decades of underfunding, restore a tuition-free university and increase the full-time faculty to students ratio. It's time for something big and bold. New York needs the New Deal for CUNY.”
CUNY leads the nation in empowering low-income students to advance into the middle class and beyond. According to a 2021 report from the New York City Comptroller, CUNY graduates working in New York State earned a combined $57 billion annually ($67,000 on average) in 2019 - $28.6 billion more than they would have earned without a post-secondary degree. Yet, CUNY is vastly underfunded and is experiencing crisis-level shortages of full-time faculty and staff. Per-student state funding for the CUNY senior college has declined 38% since 1990, with inflation.
“Accessibility to high-quality education, on all levels, is a crucial component of upward mobility, and the New Deal for CUNY creates a greater path to achievement for students,” said Councilmember Eric Dinowitz, Higher Education Committee chair. “Eradicating tuition takes a heavy burden off students’ shoulders, and allows them to focus on what’s most important: their education. As a former public school teacher, I know the power of education and the life-changing impacts that even one teacher can have on a student’s academic trajectory and life. This legislation also calls for the hiring of more full-time staff.
“This aspect will increase the care and attention that our students need, and it also makes sure that CUNY staff are able to focus on the primary objective of providing world-class instruction and support systems, '' Dinowitz continued. “There’s no better way to utilize the funding for education we have available at a city, state, and federal level. I urge my colleagues in state government to pass the New Deal for CUNY, and commit to making CUNY a nationwide model for public higher education.”
President Rich Maroko of the 40,000-member Hotel Trades Council submitted testimony to the Higher Education Committee in support of the ND4C, saying, “A fully-funded public higher education system in New York City is essential to our economic recovery as our communities continue to heal from the pandemic. But CUNY’s funding issues pre-date the COVID public health and associated economic crisis. There has been a 38% decline in the state’s per student financial commitment to CUNY’s senior colleges since 1990. After years of disinvestment by the state, CUNY needs a more full-time faculty, advisors and mental health counselors. CUNY students need infrastructure that supports safe learning and teaching. And CUNY should be free–and well-funded–as it once was.
There is no time to waste and we urge all members of the council to support the New Deal for CUNY resolution.”