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    Making CUNY more accessible includes dissolution of application fees

    October was CUNY Month, a month of virtual and in-person events designed to educate students and families of the educational opportunities inside its vast system, including the limited-time waiver of first-year application fees. However, CUNY should permanently waive fees as New York works to make higher education more accessible.

    CUNY first-year application fees were waived from Oct. 16 through 31. Starting Nov. 1, application fees will return to the original price of $65.

    “As New Yorkers across the state decide if and where they want to pursue a higher education this month, we want them to know there is a home for them at CUNY and we are waiving the application fee that may be a barrier for some of them exploring their college options,” CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez said.     

    Although thousands of New York City public school students are eligible for fee waivers, fees should not exist in the first place. CUNY understands application fees can feel like a barrier to potential applicants. By permanently removing the financial obstacle, New Yorkers gain a consistent path to higher education.

    While CUNY Month aims to bridge the gap between high school students and CUNY options, waiving fees temporarily is constricting.

    Fee waivers are available and particularly helpful for low-income families and “those who are homeless or in foster care, are living in subsidized public housing or receiving public assistance,” according to a CUNY press release.

    However, applying for waivers can be confusing and timely. They require additional supporting documents that can be difficult to obtain, such as letters from social workers or foster care systems.

    These initiatives are important to the CUNY community as they claim to provide social mobility and civic engagement.

    Although enrollment has been gradually increasing, CUNY is still recovering from the effects of the pandemic. Removing application fees can also help CUNY combat these enrollment issues.

    For example, McDaniel College saw a 30% increase in applicants in three years after dropping its $50 application fee, according to Inside Higher Ed.

    CUNY has also implemented the “A Degree for Every Dream” ad campaign which advertises diversity and opportunities within CUNY. The campaign can be seen throughout various modes of public transportation, such as the New York City Transit trains and the Long Island Rail Road.

    These CUNY initiatives are essential in helping students understand their postsecondary schooling options. CUNY must continue to provide better communication regarding opportunities across its 25 campuses.

    Access to higher education through CUNY means better communication about what it has to offer and consistent access to applications without the barrier of fees.

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    Jumaane Millette
    Jumaane Millette, Photography Editor
    Jumaane Millette is the Photography Editor for The Ticker.
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