CUNY’s Continuous Budget Blunder

CUNY Gives Students Hard Time With University Funding

By: Ruben Sibri

Students protest the hike of CUNY tuition. (Photo Credit:

Financial controversy seems to be piling up for CUNY. Backlash from students and administration, who are already upset over the announcement of Amazon’s Hq2 potentially taking residence in Long Island City, continues to grow.

CUNY is facing more push back as The Board of Trustees of CUNY votes to approve a tuition hike. The increase of $200 should comes as no surprise as tuition has steadily been rising for the last seven years.

The Board passed a proposal to enact an increase of “no more than $300 per academic year” beginning in 2011 and ending in 2016.

The Student Affairs Committee released a statement two years ago that expresses the current worries.

“Four-year tuition increases up to $100 per year at the community colleges and $250 per year at the senior colleges will not be “modest” for many of our working class students.  At the senior colleges, the increases are likely to lead to a $1,000 tuition increase at the end of four years. A third of CUNY students attend part-time and most of these receive no financial aid to compensate for the increases.”

In 2017 law passed making it so tuition could be increased by $200. In the last two years the increases have not stopped. Although the cap for the increase seems to have dropped to $200, the increase is still significant.

On Monday December 3rd, a public hearing was held for students and student leaders to express their concerns to The Board over the issue of tuition increase.

All did not go as planned as the boards fears, that students would address their concerns over Amazon, came true. Although the protestors of Amazon’s Hq2 tried to express their grievances, they were not given a chance as the board called for recess after they began speaking.

These protestors believe that the city isn’t doing enough to help out it’s universities and students while simultaneously giving an unfair assistance to a company as large as Amazon. William C. Thompson, the chairperson the board of trustees said Amazon would also receive “considerable college assets to ensure…a strong pipeline for talent, ideas and innovation”. Many see that as students being used as “pawns”.

The University Student Senate chairperson and CUNY trustee, Harris Khan, expressed his disappointment over the silencing of the protestors saying, “The public was unheard,” Khan assures students that their voices will continue to be heard “…even when microphones are turned off.”

As all this is happening a new MOE bill is heading to Governor Cuomo’s office and has been advocated by the same people opposed to the tuition hike.

The maintenance of effort bill pulls more support from the state to put into essential needs for colleges.

Politico reports that “The New York Public Interest Research Group has found that costs like rent, electricity and inflation are not included in the state’s funding equation”, meaning that student tuitions are being hit with the cost. Opposition for this bill has come from Governor Cuomo in the past.

In 2015 and 2017 Cuomo vetoed the bill. CUNY and its lawmakers have an uphill battle ahead of them if they continue to push for budgets that increase tuitions and don’t offer enough state funding to universities.

On top of that, the anticipation of Amazon in the city will continue to be fought by students who don’t want to be used as “pawns.”

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