The NYS Senate and Assembly “one-house budget” resolutions would restore the Governor’s proposed cuts to CUNY, freeze tuition and make significant new investments in CUNY. The one-house resolutions demonstrate that the Legislature understands that increased investment in CUNY is key to a just, inclusive COVID recovery. We applaud these initiatives led by Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
But the PSC believes that there is an opportunity—and a responsibility—to be even more ambitious for CUNY this year. The Senate bill includes language calling for greater future investment in CUNY and less reliance on tuition: the PSC is urging the Legislature to make that vision real by passing the New Deal for CUNY, which restores free tuition to CUNY and requires additional full-time faculty, and greatly improved ratios of mental health counselors and academic advisors to students. Such investment will be possible if the final enacted budget embraces more of the revenue-raising measures supported by nine out of ten New Yorkers.
Negotiations between the Legislature and Governor are the next step in the budget process. The budget deadline is April 1.
Both houses reject the Governor’s proposed $1.5 million cut to the School of Labor and Urban Studies and reject his planned $26.2 million cut. The Senate provides an additional $76.9 million in operating aid. The Assembly provides an additional$92.9 million in operating aid.
The Governor provided flat funding for Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge (SEEK). Both the Senate and Assembly provide an additional $5.6 million for SEEK.
The Senate one-house budget proposal seeks to gradually eliminate mandatory graduate student fees.
Both the Senate and Assembly would hold CUNY harmless against $9.5 million in lost funding that would have resulted from a decline in community college enrollment.
The Senate, using 2020-21 as a base year, establishes a funding floor of 98% of the prior year’s funding and increases Base Aid by $250 per full-time equivalent student. The Assembly, using 2020-21 as a base year, establishes a 100% funding floor for Base Aid for 2022, and establishes a funding floor of no less than 98% for subsequent years.
Both the Senate and Assembly reject the executive budget proposal to cut rental aid by $447,000.
Both the Senate and Assembly provide an additional $902,000 to childcare funding.
The Executive Budget proposal cut $2.5 million from the ASAP program. The Senate restores the $2.5 million and provides an additional $500,000 in funding for the program. The Assembly restores the $2.5 million cut.
The Senate provides $4 million to CUNY for student mental health supports.
Both the Senate and the Assembly would close the TAP Gap, which is a structural deficit created each year by the difference between the maximum TAP award and the cost of tuition. They both accomplish this through a combination of direct allocations to CUNY and a $1000 increase in the maximum TAP.
The Assembly one-house budget proposal establishes the Martin Luther King Jr. scholarship to help students cover expenses associated with non-tuition costs and fees.
Maintenance of Effort (MOE)
Both the Senate and Assembly one-house proposals extend the maintenance of effort and provide that the state must appropriate and make available general fund operating support and fringe benefits for the SUNY and CUNY systems―these benefits include, but are not limited to, collective bargaining costs including salary increments, fringe benefits and other non-personal service costs.
The Governor’s budget proposal provides $284 million for CUNY senior colleges and provides $35.5million for CUNY community colleges. The Senate provides an additional $250 million in CUNY capital funding. The Assembly provides an additional $80 million in CUNY capital funding.
The Senate one-house budget proposal directs the governor, as part of the annual budget, to submit a five-year capital plan that provides for 100% of the annual critical maintenance needs identified by the university systems.