CUNY, SUNY: ‘what’s in your wallet?’

The Editorial Board

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2021 budgeting plan proposes that CUNY and SUNY colleges be forced to raise millions of dollars to match state funds for the renovation projects and construction of new facilities. This “2:1 strategic capital matching plan” would mandate that CUNY and SUNY’s four-year campuses pay one-third of their current and future capital construction costs, The New York Post reports. Under Cuomo’s capital spending bill, these public colleges would be expected to match one-third of New York state’s contribution before April 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year.

Cuomo’s budget office claims that the budgeting proposal is being misinterpreted in response to criticisms of their lack of support for CUNY projects. There is nothing to misunderstand here. Cuomo is sending a very clear and sad message with this budgeting plan. It would be a spit in the face to students and staff if tuition hikes and staff layoffs were to occur as a result of the CUNY and SUNY effort to meet Cuomo’s budgeting plan’s requirements. This proposal seems like the first step down a slippery slope in which Albany gradually continues to withdraw financial support from New York’s public college system. The state must remain fully committed to its investment in the higher education of its communities or risk losing out on the return on said investment in the form of meaningful contributors to society.