CUNY Plans to Hold Community College Tuition At Current Levels, Seeks Authority to Extend Predictable Tuition Policy

The City University of New York is planning to hold community college tuition at its current rate for the coming fiscal year and will ask the State government to extend the University’s authority for modest, predictable tuition increases at the senior colleges, under a budget request resolution to be submitted for CUNY Board of Trustees approval later this month.

Hundreds of thousands of full time undergraduate students have attended CUNY colleges tuition-free during the five-year period that the predictable tuition policy has been in place. This year alone more than 66 percent of fulltime tuition-free thanks to coverage by federal Pell grants, state Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and CUNY aid and other benefits. As a result, more than 80 percent of graduates obtain their degree free from federal education loan debt.

Long recognized as an exceptional academic value, CUNY has strengthened and expanded quality academic programs as enrollment climbed by 6 percent to record levels over the last five years, even with the increase in tuition. During that period, a total of 996 new faculty lines have been added, including 588 at the senior colleges and 408 at the community colleges. The legislation establishing five yearly $300 increases at the senior and community colleges, will expire June 30, the end of the 2016 fiscal year.

The proposed extension of the increases at the senior colleges will help to ensure the sustainability of high-quality academic programs and support services as high student demand continues. The colleges are currently facing a three percent cut in funding levels for staffing and non-personnel services.

The funding outlook is more promising at the community colleges, which are benefiting from a comprehensive, multifaceted, state-and city-funded initiative to improve retention and graduation rates, and boost student skills before they matriculate in associate programs. The plans include expansion of Accelerated Study in Associate Programs, or ASAP, an exceptionally successful graduation-boosting program that has been recognized by President Barack Obama and educators across the country, and the transformation of Bronx Community College into a ASAP college. The city has so far allocated $42 million for the highly-structured and supportive ASAP initiative.

The University’s proposed $3.4 billion budget proposal for FY2017 includes a $50.4 million increase for mandatory costs, and $106.6 million for programmatic investments, over this year’s $3.2 billion budget.

The draft proposal requests continued state funding to close the gap between the maximum TAP award given to students and their tuition, to allow for reinvestment in student support. State tuition legislation  in 2011 required CUNY to provide TAP waiver credits covering the difference between tuition and student TAP awards.

The draft budget resolution was presented by the Board of Trustees’ Finance Committee at the committee’s meeting on Monday, Nov. 2. The request will be presented to full Board of Trustees at its Nov. 23 meeting and once approved by the Board, will be shared with elected officials as well as state and city budget officials.

The FY2017 State Executive Budget, and the FY 2017 City Preliminary Budget, will both be issued in January 2016.

About The City University of New York: The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the CUNY Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the CUNY School of Public Health. The University serves a record 275,000 degree-credit students and 218,083 adult, continuing and professional education students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program, 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. Nearly 3 million unique visitors and 10 million page views are served each month via www.cuny.edu, the University’s website.