March 1, 2003 | Speeches and Testimony
In New York State and across the nation, we are facing the most serious financial crisis in recent memory. During this time of personal and collective belt-tightening, it is more important than ever to ensure continued access to a top-quality higher education. Colleges and universities offer opportunities for education, job training and retraining that make students competitive. In return, students become wage-earners and taxpayers who contribute to the economic vitality of our communities.
We in the City University are more committed than ever to help our current and prospective students find out how they can afford to pay for college. Financial aid and student jobs are two key resources for students and families who are seeking to meet the costs of a college education.
February was Financial Aid Awareness Month at the campuses of the City University. Throughout the month, the University sponsored free financial aid seminars in every borough, open to the public (including students deciding whether to apply to college). Current and prospective students were able to learn about and take advantage of the wide range of city, state, federal and private financial assistance programs and scholarships available to them.
Parents and students obtained advice and assistance from experts in the CUNY Office of Financial Aid, on topics ranging from completing financial aid applications to monitoring the status of their application after submission. Many seminars were offered in Spanish, Chinese and Russian, in addition to English. Students unable to attend who would like further information may visit the CUNY web site at www.cuny.edu/financialaid or call 1-800-CUNY-YES.
Student employment is another important strategy in paying for college tuition. CUNY is putting technology to work as part of our ongoing effort to alert our students about employment opportunities. As the centerpiece of this effort, we are establishing a central, one-stop web site on the CUNY home page (www.cuny.edu) where current and prospective students can obtain a comprehensive description of jobs and internships available at individual campuses and elsewhere in the University.
The web site will feature links to information on State Department of Labor offices throughout the City, College Work-Study, and CUNY job fairs (including the CUNY Big Apple Job Fair, and on-campus Career Days). Students will be able to access information on programs for public assistance recipients, career services offices at specific colleges, opportunities for employment as a poll-worker in City elections, valuable internship programs such as the Edward T. Rogowsky Internship Program in Government and Public Affairs, and services for students with disabilities.
I urge students enrolled at one of our colleges, or just interested in pursuing higher education opportunities, to find out what programs and opportunities are available. The time and effort they invest can pay valuable dividends in meeting the cost of a college education