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RECESSION RAISES CUNY'S TUITION
The National Bureau of Economic Research states, America’s recession started back in December 2007. The effects of the recession recently started impacting CUNY students with their financial aid and tuition that caused uproar by students, faculty/staff members of CUNY. The two major problems facing students is The CUNY Tuition Hike and Pathways which has been covered by mainstream news media or the CUNY students, faculty/staff and the Professional Staff Congress. The recession is also affecting community and state college programs in which, state fundings is being required to continue these programs due to the increase of students in CUNY, as stated by Chancellor Matthew Goldstein.
The National Bureau of Economic Research said in December 2008 that the U.S. has been in a recession since December 2007, making official what most Americans have already believed about the state of the economy. According to the New York Times, lawmakers gathered in Albany to come to an agreement for an annual $300 increase for CUNY and SUNY students for the next 5 years last June. The increase would affect 136,084 CUNY undergraduates on 11 campuses, including the City College of New York and Hunter College in Manhattan, as well as 909 students taking online classes. As of fall 2011, the current tuition is $4,830 annually for full-time New York residents.
CUNY students found out about the hike late last year in November which caused uproar from Baruch College students/faculties/staff members when the decision was finalized by the CUNY Board of Trustees. However, without any luck, the increase went through and the students felt the first effect this semester. Baruch College’s protest was the most talked about subject in regards to the CUNY Tuition Hike for various weeks in mainstream media news.
In spite of the protest, the Board of Trustees went with the tuition hike.
According to The New York Times, CUNY last raised tuition, by $230, in January 2011, to help offset a nearly $300 million reduction in state aid since 2008 — a loss that brought state financing down to about $1 billion annually.
“The first of those increases, to $5,130, already took effect this year. The board’s 15-to-1 vote will raise tuition for undergraduates at CUNY’s four-year colleges to $6,330 in 2015-16, with about $500 a year in additional fees” according to The New York Times.
Another new initiative by CUNY officials that was recently agreed upon was Pathways. Even though Pathways was something that was started to make student’s graduate “faster”, through research CUNY faculty/staff and students have understood and reported it is going to hinder students financially and academically rather than help them. The truth of the matter is, for students transferring from a community college to a senior college, all their credits will not be accepted.
According to Streamlined Pathways in CUNY’s website, the 30-credit Common Core, plus an additional 6 to 12 credit of College Option general education credits for the senior colleges (decided by the senior colleges) is to take effect in fall 2013. So basically with pathways there can be up to 12 - 15 credits that students have to retake in their senior college, even though they already took it in their community college. At the most, up to 45 credits will be transferred to the senior college. Leaving which credits can and cannot be transferred up to CUNY will cause students to retake classes they have already taken in their community college and spend more money and take more time graduating with a Bachelor's degree. Therefore, student’s tuition will be used even more which inclusive, “raises” the student’s tuition to finish college.
An article from The Word Real Journalism, provided by Hunter College regarding Pathways states, “Professors have demonstrated unprecedented opposition to CUNY’s controversial new general education plan, Pathways. More than 3,300 faculty and staff have signed an online petition calling for the repeal of Pathways. Numerous elected faculty bodies [such as the University Faculty Senate] have passed resolutions against it and the union filed a lawsuit to stop the initiative. ‘More than 500 people signed the petition in the first hour,’ said Dr. Barbara Bowen, President of the Professional Staff Congress, the union representing faculty and professional staff at CUNY.” She states, “That is an unprecedented response (Petition). It’s a measure of what CUNY means to us and of our opposition to a curriculum that would diminish the quality of a CUNY education’.
The recession has also started impacting CUNY programs in community and senior colleges as well. More students are looking to be accepted in CUNY colleges and programs due to the financial burden in private colleges. According to the CUNY Chancellor, Matthew Goldstein, “as our enrollment has grown, so has the demand for these services.”
The Chancellor’s Desk states, the passage of a 2012-2013 New York State budget that includes increased funding for community colleges is significant. Over the last four fiscal years, our community colleges have sustained reductions in state funding of $553 per full-time-equivalent student (FTE) — a 20 percent cut. This year, a $150-per-FTE increase — creating a $12.2 million total increase in base aid — will help the University address the growing needs of our community colleges.
In my opinion, the increase in state funding is being required for these special programs in colleges to keep the programs alive so students don’t fall in a financial burden even more than they already are. If these fundings were not available, more students would drop out and they would not have anything to look forward to.
The CUNY Tuition Hike and Pathways has been the most talked about topics by mainstream media news, CUNY students, and officials recently. However, lawmakers and CUNY Board of Trustees have ignored these eruptions from the public and made these new policies official. With that said, the recession is also affecting college programs where an increase in state funding is being required to run the programs and prevent a shutdown of the programs.