CUNY schools are said to be some of the most affordable schools there are for undergraduate and graduate education, but is that really the case? According to Student Debt Relief, the national average for undergraduates during the 2017-2018 school year was $9,970 for in-state residents at public universities, and $25,620 for out-of-state residents at four-year institutions. For four year private schools, the average is $34,740. Either way, more people are graduating with debt than ever.
According to CNBC and the College Board, “the average cumulative student debt balance in 2017 was $26,900 for graduates of public four-year schools and $32,600 for graduates of private nonprofit four-year schools.” CUNY’s website lists tuition for in-state residents as $6,930 per year at four year institutions and $18,600 per year for out-of-state residents taking a fifteen credit workload. The website also shows that tuition for in-state residents is $6,930 per year at four year institutions and $18,600 per year for out-of-state residents taking a fifteen credit workload.
As reported by the Professional Staff Congress at CUNY on March 7th, 2019 Barbara Bowen, the President of PSC CUNY, testified about funding for CUNY and the Mayor’s Preliminary Budget for the 2020 fiscal year. President Barbara Bowen was an English professor at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center before becoming President of PSC CUNY. She urged the Council and Mayor “to invest an additional $112.8 million in CUNY community colleges and senior colleges” according to PSC CUNY.
President Bowen stated that the $112.8 million would be used in three areas. $70 million would cover mandatory cost increases such as building rental, fringe benefits and to help students work outside the classroom. $32.8 million would cover two decades of inflation to the standard senior colleges, and the last $10 million would bridge the TAP Gap for Associate’s degree students attending CUNY colleges. President Bowen also urged the Council to support the union’s campaign to have fair raises for all CUNY faculty and staff, citing the demand for $7,500 per course for CUNY adjuncts.
Many CUNY students see this as a win for CUNY, Daniel Campuzano, a freshman at Queensborough Community College (QCC) and undecided major stated “I think making more opportunities for students to excel both in and out of the classroom is an investment worth making.” Queens College senior and psychology major Anthony Vancol agrees, saying that “This increase would provide vital resources to keep the CUNY system running. The board of trustees has relied too long on tuition hikes to absorb cost increases associated with collective bargaining.”
Jessica Vujkovic, a sophomore and clinical psychology major at Hunter College added that “it’s a very progressive and ambitious idea and CUNY really deserves the money. CUNY is known for preparing many college students for the future and I’m happy to see that.” Students support the call for more funding for CUNY, agreeing that more funding for CUNY would help improve overall student life and education for all.