On Thursday, July 21 the Executive Committee of the CUNY Board of Trustees approved a resolution calling for an additional $150 per semester tuition hikes for full-time students at senior and community colleges.
Subsequently, in response to a lawsuit filed by three Lehman College students, a state Supreme Court judge signed an order on July 26th blocking the $300 tuition increase passed by the Executive Committee of the CUNY Board of Trustees on the grounds that state law requires the entire CUNY Board of Trustees to vote on any tuition increase.
Complying with the court order, the entire Board of Trustees met on August 3rd and voted to enact the tuition hike. Protesters speaking out against the hike were ejected from the meeting, which only lasted about 15 minutes.
This latest tuition hike comes after the passage of new state legislation authorizing CUNY to increase tuition by up to $300 per year for the next five years. (The CUNY Trustees recently approved a senior college tuition hike of $230 for 2011-2012. This new hike comes on top of that.)
President Barbara Bowen’s Statement
CUNY needs more public funding, not endless tuition increases. Fifty-four percent of CUNY students have annual family incomes of $30,000 or less. An additional tuition increase will threaten access to a college education and undermine CUNY’s mission to provide opportunity for the low-income and working class students of New York City.
The vote on July 21 by the CUNY Board of Trustees to increase tuition for CUNY undergraduate students by $300 per year—on top of a $230 increase already enacted—amounts to a tax in disguise, a tax that disproportionately hurts the poor, people of color, and first-generation students.
This latest tuition hike comes after the passage of new state legislation authorizing CUNY to increase tuition by up to $300 per year for the next five years. Language embedded in the new law would offer some protection (but no guarantee) against using the new tuition revenue to offset future reductions in state funding. While we commend the legislature for recognizing the need to stabilize public funding for CUNY, we object to the annual tuition increases on which the law is built. They put CUNY on the wrong path.
Public funding for CUNY has been reduced by more than $300 million in the last three years. Instead of restoring public funding, the governor and the legislature agreed to authorize five straight years of tuition hikes. The result is that student tuition dollars will be used to backfill the hole in CUNY’s budget created by the state.
Video of the July 21st Board of Trustees meeting
Podcast of the July 20th hearing, where students, faculty and staff spoke against the hike