In testimony today (February 9, 1999) before a joint committee of the New York State Legislature, City University of New York Interim Chancellor Christoph M. Kimmich sought improvements in the proposed 1999-2000 State Executive Budget that currently recommends financial aid reductions of more than $100 million and leaves other mandatory University expenses unfunded.
Testifying before members of the Senate Finance Committee and the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, Chancellor Kimmich outlined examples of CUNY’s academic successes and increasingly rigorous standards. He also noted that the proposed executive budget for CUNY’s senior colleges was $86.7 million short of the University’s projected needs for both senior and two-year programs, and would severely limit the University’s priority effort to hire more full-time faculty. Chancellor Kimmich thanked the Governor and the Legislature for approving funding of the University’s collective bargaining agreement for the senior colleges last year and called for similar support this year.
The recommended cuts in financial aid – specifically in the state’s Tuition Assistance Plan (TAP) – particularly concerned Chancellor Kimmich, who said, “proposed reductions in tuition assistance will penalize CUNY’s neediest students.” He advised legislators that if the cuts were enacted the number of students receiving TAP will plummet from 117,000 to 32,000, and $129 million in aid would drop to $30 million – a 75% reduction that would seriously reduce academic opportunity at CUNY.
“Opportunity, after all, is what you fund,” Kimmich concluded, “and what we, through your generous efforts, offer at The City University of New York.”