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Sequestration means students suffer

The sequester budget storm landed late Friday night, Mar. 1 and is preparing to devastate New York’s CUNY funds.

The automatic budget cuts will, by the end of 2013, eliminate $42.7 million from N.Y.’s education budget, affecting nearly 70,000 students, 590 teachers, 120 schools, federal grants and substance abuse treatment, according to White House statistics.

QC students can expect to feel the results of the sequestration early as CUNY may lose $253,020 federal funds for work study, causing roughly 4,150 fewer students to receive jobs.

Barbara Moore, clinical psychologist and acting director of counseling services at QC, thought the sequestration was not well planned.

“I agree with Obama, budget cuts should be sensible. When it’s not well planned it induces sadness on those affected,” Moore said.

Federal grants also face a severe reduction. CUNY’s grant budget could be reduced by $387,118. The Federal Pell Grant is exempt from cuts this year, but other grants such as Tuition Assistance Program and research grants are not.

QC students may see reductions in award letters or may not receive any additional aid while the cuts are being implemented.

Substance abuse treatment is also taking a heavy hit. New York will lose approximately $5,730,000 in grants to prevent and treat substance abuse, according to White House numbers. This would be nearly 6,100 fewer substance abusers being admitted into treatment programs.

Adam L. Rockman, vice president of student affairs, believes the sequestration is a bad idea.

“Any budget cut, when it affects higher education, is a bad idea. There are students in every college and university, including Queens College, who need addiction treatment,” Rockman said.

Sequestration is part of a compromise passed by Congress in 2011 for raising the debt ceiling. The deficit was supposed to be decreased by $1.2 trillion by the end of 2012, but Congress pushed that deadline further until Mar. 1.

“Because our budget comes from the state, I don’t know what the actual connection will be to counseling services,” Rockman said. “We get a large budget and then it’s worked on by each individual college to decide what priorities are needed.”

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