The decision to raise tuition across all CUNYs raises disagreement between the administration and students
The discussion about raising tuition across all CUNYs has been not-so-silently approaching an impasse. A number of CUNY students have been advocating for a tuition freeze. Members of the University State Senate, the CUNY student-run government, have been sending out petitions and holding rallies in support of the tuition freeze. The administration, on the other hand, maintains its defense of the rational tuition hike.
The rational tuition plan, first put in place in 2011 as an act that raises CUNY tuition by $300 per annum, is at debate again for the following academic year. The hike was instituted as a means of precaution; the New York state government over the years has been cutting the budget allotted to CUNY. In the event that the government chooses not to support CUNY this year, the administration wants to be prepared and issue out a tuition hike in order to make up the difference that would be lost.
Governor Cuomo, it seems, does not actively support the maintenance of CUNYs. His SUNY-CUNY merge idea completely nullifies the existence of a homegrown university system within New York City. His budget proposals have sliced $300 million from senior college budgets and $200 million across all two-year CUNY institutions and community colleges. CUNY students desperately rely on that money in order to handle necessary in-building maintenance and maintain an appropriate learning environment for all of the students it houses.
CUNY budgets are impossible to cut without repercussion due to the fact that CUNY houses almost 90 percent of the entire collegiate population within New York City.
The stark difference in opinion between administration and CUNY students and its government is embarrassing and unnecessary. The administration’s proposal to raise tuition is well-intended, but it does not take into account the difficulties students would have in paying that extra cost. The administration wants to raise tuition in order to cover the difference if government officials were to diminish the CUNY budget more.
The underlying intention behind this decision is to continue to provide adequate and appropriate public university services to students. But extra costs only hinder the academic experience of any student, no matter the institute. The quality of the education would certainly remain the same, despite the possibility of increasing tuition. Demanding that students pay more money for an education of the same quality is absurd, an ignominious attempt by the administration to pocket hard-earned money at the hands of its very students.
How can members of the same student body collectively disagree on prime issues such as this? The goal of any university is to put its students’ best interests first. Students and the USS along with the respective student governments of each CUNY are fighting back with the prospect of achieving a tuition freeze to avoid paying additional costs for an education of the same quality.
The extent to which an administration and the students it governs should disagree is slight. To stand on complete opposite ends of the same spectrum when this kind of relationship is upheld is undeniably wrong.
The CUNY administration should actively seek out ways to improve the education of students at as minimal a cost as possible. The administration, rather, places the burden on students to resolve an issue that seems bigger than the institution itself. Students and the administration should work in conjunction to come to a resolution when decisions as impactful as this are to be made. The administration and student government need to come to a consensus rather than pit against one another in order to maximize efforts. Although disagreements may occur, it is in the best interest of every student for all supportive groups to recognize the beneficial steps toward developing and executing the means to the best possible education.