CUNY Tuition Hikes: What Do They Solve?

By Candace Pedraza

The wallets and bank accounts of current City of New York College attendees are certainly emptying more than usual. Now, with the proposed tuition increases, many might see these sources of income becoming more hollow than usual with newly proposed tuition hikes within the city’s public college system.

These hikes are not going unnoticed or without strong opposition, as both students and faculty members of Lehman College are questioning its purpose and its end result on the pockets of attendees at Lehman College and other CUNY schools.

“I think it’s unreasonable,” said Tyra Sanders, a student at Lehman College when asked about the tuition hikes. Sanders feels that students should be rewarded for their acceptance in a CUNY school, as she feels it’s already “hard to get into one.” Sanders holds a similar belief to another student, who feels the raise in tuition is not good for current CUNY students.

The tuition hikes, which were voted on in January of 2011, meant a 5% increase every semester until the year 2015. According to the Professional Staff Congress, the union that represents CUNY faculty and staff, the Board of Trustees in charge of these matters are attempting to increase the tuition hike. Therefore, this causes the tuition of undergraduate students to possibly go up hundreds of dollars, while graduate students may see a near thousand dollar increase in their tuition.

Paula Rollins, a student taking summer classes in Lehman has personally felt the affects of the hike and said that the hikes are “way too much money.” Rollins has had to scrape together more financial aid than normal, and she feels that the money could be found “elsewhere.”

“They could try a fundraiser or something along those lines. I just think the whole thing is unreasonable.” Rollins expressed when asked about whether she believes there are other solutions to the city’s fiscal problems.

Not only do students have this opinion, but also faculty members and those who work for the interests of CUNY faculty and staff have strong opposition and speculation to the hike.

According to Metrofocus, Barbara Bowen, president of the Professional Staff Congress-CUNY, stated, “Many [CUNY students] hold a full-time job while also going to school full-time. They are at their maximum stress point in terms of finances, and even $300 can be extremely prohibitive.” The hike in tuition would cause many students to feel pressure in affording their classes. Also it would increase student debt since students already do not make enough money to support themselves.

Lehman staff members that are represented and are not representatives also have opinions on the matter.

“First of all, why are they raising it? Secondly, where is this extra money going? What is it going into?” Hill questioned about the new surplus in funds the city would collect as a result of this hike. Hill went on to ask whether it was because “more students are enrolled in classes in the city, or are more students are coming into the city’s schools?”

“I don’t like it,” said Ms. Hill. Not many other CUNY affiliated city dwellers hold an opposing view on the matter of tuition hikes, and those who do are to be fought against in upcoming months with certainty.

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