CUNY Chancellor Urges Congress To Support $500 Pell Grant Increase

City University of New York Chancellor Matthew Goldstein urged strong Senate and Congressional support for an increase of $500 in the maximum Pell Grant award and opposition to any cuts to any higher education program funding for FY 2003.

“Over time, award levels for the Pell Program have fallen behind the rate of inflation. At The City University of New York, Pell Grants represent one of the primary safety nets for our financially disadvantaged students,” Chancellor Goldstein said in a letter to Senator Ted Stevens, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The Chancellor also wrote to New York Senators Charles Schumer, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the New York State delegation serving in the House of Representatives.

The Senate’s $391 billion FY 2003 omnibus appropriations bill provides for just a $100 increase (to $4,100) in the maximum Pell Grant Award.

“Nearly 60 percent of CUNY students come from families earning less than $30,000 a year,” Chancellor Goldstein added. “The proposed $500 increase would assist 90,000 CUNY students, providing approximately $33 million. With this increase, these students will be able to realize their educational aspirations and repay this investment many times over through their taxes and contributions to the workforce.”

In the letter to Senator Stevens, Chancellor Goldstein urged an increase in funding for the “vitally important” Carl D. Perkins Act, commensurate to the House proposal for an additional $20 million for the Basic State Grants of the Perkins Act. He expressed his gratitude, however, for the Senate’s proposed increase of $8.4 million to the Title III-A Strengthening Institutions Act.

“One of the best ways to ensure America’s future prosperity is to maximize access to higher education opportunities for students across the United States. The City University of New York has historically provided access to quality educational opportunities for anyone with higher education aspirations, including populations that have traditionally been disadvantaged or faced barriers to education and employment. Many of our students are the first in their families to attend college,” Chancellor Goldstein wrote.

“By expanding these programs, we will enhance students’ access to a college education, with dramatic impact on New York’s communities and economy. Many thousands of bright, promising students would benefit from enhanced access to affordable higher education. It would assist them in completing their degree, and in becoming substantial contributors to America’s economic health and vitality,” he added.

The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847 as the Free Academy, the University’s 23 institutions include 11 senior colleges, six community colleges, the Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. The University serves 243,000 degree-credit students and more than 240,000 adult, continuing and professional education students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program for 32,500 high school students, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 300 high schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The University offers online baccalaureate degrees through the School of Professional Studies and an individualized baccalaureate through the CUNY Baccalaureate Degree.