A new semester starts, but many of the same questions about how to afford a college degree remain. For too many students, college is still far from free. Between rising tuition and fees, mounting textbook prices, rent, food, transit, and even child care expenses, Queens College students deserve a break!
Flat state funding has left the burden of paying for our expanding CUNY and SUNY institutions increasingly on the backs of students and their families. Tuition has gone up over 35% in just seven years at New York’s public universities. The state has two tuition aid programs which are designed to provide free tuition to low and middle income students. Even so, the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and the Governor’s new Excelsior Scholarship continue to box out too many students in need.
Flat state funding has also meant that campuses cannot invest in more classes or student resources. Insufficient course offerings and support services like advisement means that graduating on time is far from the norm. What’s more, this year’s budget proposal includes millions of dollars in cuts to Educational Opportunity Programs, ASAP, SEEK, College Discovery and campus child care centers. These are time-tested, successful services that support New York’s most financially vulnerable students through to graduation. They deserve more funding, not less.
In short, our state representatives are responsible for ensuring all New Yorkers have access to a degree, because higher education is a right. When students organize together, sending a message that students deserve more from their government, real change happens. Join NYPIRG and hundreds of students across the state for Higher Education Action Day on February 28th in Albany, NY to share your story and fight for an accessible, affordable higher education. A cost free, debt free, public higher education is in New York’s future! Join us in the fight to get there. Stop by the NYPIRG office in the Student Union LL-36 to learn more!
NYPIRG Project Coordinator