Stop the Hike!

CUNY`’s NYPIRG speaks out against Governor Hochul’s proposed tuition hike.

By Gabriel Acevedo

Photo Credit: Gabriel Acevedo

This brochure promotes the New Deal for CUNY bill and the CUNY Rising Alliance, an organization that works with NYPIRG.

As the state budget draws near, students of CUNY and SUNY are now facing a new dilemma for the next year: a raise in tuition costs. 

Governor Kathy Hochul has recently announced a three percent tuition increase for in-state tuition of both CUNY and SUNY schools. 

The proposal, included in the budget, would go into effect for the fall 2023 semester. This would raise the cost for admission for not only four-year schools, but community colleges as well. 

Students across the city did not take too kindly to this announcement. On March 19, students held a protest in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall to demand that the state reject the tuition hike. 

On campus, the fight still continues, especially in the student-led activist group, NYPIRG. Colin Hall, project coordinator for CSI’s NYPIRG chapter, spoke out against the bill, even stating it goes against CUNY’s origins. 

“CUNY had been free for at least 100 years. They only started charging back in the 1970s,” said Hall. “It’s infuriating that something that could easily be a public free institution for everybody, is actually being denigrated and being charged more for a service that once was free.”

Colin discusses how CUNY was once a free service for New Yorkers to get public education. However, during the New York City fiscal crisis, the federal government put pressure on the city to end the free tuition program in 1976. 

The initial tuition at the time was $925. That cost has now jumped up to $6,930. With this proposed tuition hike, students are expected to pay around 120 to 400 dollars more depending on their institution. 

Aside from an expected rise, students are also upset about the direction of money for CUNY. Ayesha Schmitt, the project coordinator for NYPIRG at Hunter College, stresses that this is not the direction the colleges should go. 

“Our schools have been underfunded for well over a decade and not only do the tuition increases not cover the need CUNY has,” said Schmitt. “Shifting the cost of our public education is not a sustainable action. CUNY has already been struggling with a downturn in enrollment and increased tuition will only make this worse.” 

Schmitt, Hall, and other NYPIRG student activists have advocated for “New Deal 4 CUNY.” This bill will not only make CUNY tuition free, but also increase the ratio for full-time faculty and staff, as well as increase the budget for the schools. 

NYPIRG continues to push against these tuition hikes and encourage students to show up in this ongoing protest. 

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