Where Do Things Stand on the New Deal for CUNY?

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February 15, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

Where do things stand on the New Deal for CUNY?

Less than two months remain until the New York state budget is finalized, and it is clear that the PSC and our allies have strong momentum. The efforts of PSC members, CUNY students, and the CUNY Rising Alliance over many years have helped to win dozens of passionate legislative supporters of the New Deal For CUNY, and produce a request from CUNY management and an executive budget from the Governor that are stronger than any we’ve seen in more than a decade. Send a letter urging your legislators to pass the New Deal for CUNY, which would transform the funding of CUNY over five years, starting this year.

What more does the Governor’s budget for CUNY need in order to fulfill the priorities in the New Deal for CUNY legislation (S4461/A5843)?

The Governor’s executive budget:

  1. Increases funding substantially for SEEK programs, college childcare centers, and TAP for part-time students and incarcerated individuals.
  2. Closes the TAP gap in one year, relieving CUNY colleges of a longstanding burdensome drain on resources.
  3. Lifts the funding floor for state aid to community colleges.
  4. Provides funding to hire 540 new full-time faculty at CUNY.
  5. Freezes tuition. 

All told, the executive budget dedicates $170 million in additional funding for CUNY. But it is still not enough. This is the starting point for the critical seven weeks ahead before the state budget is finalized – all of us are needed to help get the New Deal for CUNY done!

New full-time faculty hires and pay parity for adjuncts

The executive budget includes $53 million in new funds to hire 540 new full-time faculty. An undetermined number of these positions will be available to convert adjunct appointments.

The New Deal for CUNY would direct resources to hire 5,774 full-time faculty and achieve pay parity between adjunct faculty and full-time lecturers. An additional $136 million is needed to move towards this goal.

Mental health counselors and academic advisors

Closing the TAP gap this year will yield new general operating aid, but the executive budget does not provide for new full-time academic advisors and mental health counselors.

The New Deal for CUNY would direct resources to hire 171 FULL TIME mental health counselors and 342 academic advisors. This can be done immediately and fully for $79 million.

Eliminate tuition for undergraduate students

The executive budget does not raise tuition but fails to provide funding to begin making CUNY tuition-free again.

The New Deal for CUNY would phase in free tuition for undergraduate students. For $284 million, CUNY could offer free community college this year, setting the stage for the 4-year colleges.

Community college funding

The executive budget cushions the blow of declining community college enrollment, on which the state bases its operating funds. It does this by creating a funding floor using the state allocation of 2020-21.

The PSC’s budget goal, not in the New Deal for CUNY, is to change the funding floor reference year to the pre-COVID year 2018-19 and increase base aid by $300 per full-time equivalent student. These measures would provide a combined $39 million.

What can you do?

Students, alumni, faculty, staff, and allies should sign the New Deal for CUNY letter to legislators. 7,337 letters have already been sent to legislators and the Governor…Let’s see if we can get to 20,000 letters by March 6! Click here for ideas about how to bring this letter to your students.

Participate in the PSC Legislation Committee’s lobbying visits. Contact PSC legislative representative Luke Elliott-Negri: lelliott-negri@pscmail.org.

Help to make the union’s plan for #APeoplesCUNY into a reality. Join the PSC Campus Action Team at your college. Contact organizing director Deirdre Brill at dbrill@pscmail.org.

Plan to attend the in-person mass mobilization on Sunday, March 6, sponsored by the faculty and staff unions at SUNY and CUNY, and our community coalition partners in the CUNY Rising Alliance. Kickoff 12 noon at Brooklyn Borough Hall. Click here to RSVP. Nearly 1,000 supporters thronged the streets of Queens on December 11 - let’s triple that turnout in March and amplify our voices to the elected officials in Albany before the state budget is finalized.

In solidarity,
James Davis, President
Professional Staff Congress