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Free MetroCards are a vital need for CUNY students

Naziha Jaha

In a city like New York City, every dollar is important, especially to the college student body. CUNY prides itself on being accessible and affordable to all, which is why MetroCards should be free to these students – an initiative the University Student Senate is pushing for. With the cost of public transit becoming increasingly expensive, this call has never been more urgent.

Recent studies have highlighted the socioeconomic challenges that CUNY students face, with many from low-income families. According to the 2023 Fiscal Report, “close to 60 percent reporting household income below New York City Poverty Line, and two in three undergraduate students attending tuition-free.”

The burden of affording a weekly or monthly MetroCard only adds to the hindering of student success.

Advocates, including the Chairperson of the CUNY University Student Senate Salimatou Doumbouya, argued that providing free MetroCards to CUNY students is not only a matter of equity but also a wise investment in the city’s future.

At a rally, Doumbouya spoke on the issue, “The number one priority of USS CUNY’s legislative agenda right now is to provide free Metrocards for college students,” she said.

Despite concerns over costs estimated at approximately $50 million annually, the benefits of providing free MetroCards outweigh the expenses. Not only would it alleviate the financial strain on students, but it would also contribute to their overall well-being and academic success.

Additionally, this investment can be seen as a strategic move to foster continued growth and prosperity.

The push for free MetroCards for CUNY students is not merely a matter of convenience but a crucial step towards ensuring equal access to education and opportunity. As CUNY prides itself on being a beacon of progress and inclusivity, it’s time for policymakers to recognize the importance of supporting students on their journey toward success.

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