CUNY students pay student activity fees that no longer benefit them


Iraj Zia | The Ticker

The Editorial Board

CUNY should not charge student fees if the students are unable to reap the benefits of everything the university claims to provide.

Many Baruch College students fondly remember the days before the  coronavirus pandemic when they scored a free hoodie or lunch during club hours. However, many students may be surprised to learn that these goodies were funded by the student fees that they paid every semester.

All students still pay those same student fees, despite most student activities running remotely. So, where are our free hoodies now?

Aside from merchandise, full-time students across the CUNY campuses pay a technology fee of $125 and up to $180 for activity fees per semester. Part-time students pay about half of that cost.

While more students are taking advantage of technology support following Baruch’s reopening for the fall 2021 semester, this does not explain where the fees went when the campus completely closed in fall 2020 and spring 2021, effectively cutting off students’ access to technology services.

In light of this discrepancy, CUNY should reimburse students for all, or at least a portion, of this fee.

The activity fees go toward supporting student clubs, student government, campus services and a multitude of other student-related activities. However, even as classes at Baruch become hybrid or  fully in-person, student leaders were prompted to hold fully remote club meetings and risked disciplinary action if they held any sort of in-person activity for their respective clubs.

Some clubs do put their budgets toward hosting guest speakers or giving out prizes to students, but this is nowhere near the scale of activities the budget was used for before March 2020.

On top of this, the quality of other services available to students is dwindling in light of the pandemic. Reaching out to advisors for help has become a difficult task as students can no longer simply walk into the advising office and ask anyone for assistance.

Instead, they now have to virtually meet by appointment after lining up their schedules. Getting hold of specific advisors has become even more difficult as a result.

Losing that money without being able to reap the benefits of CUNY’s typical services is all the more difficult for students struggling financially.

The Healthy CUNY Survey on the impact of COVID-19 and food insecurity on students in 2020 reported that 70% of students witnessed a decrease in income for other members of their household and 54% of students witnessed a decrease in their own income.

A school  housing students from all walks of life and socioeconomic backgrounds should be reducing the burden of paying exorbitant fees on students, rather than further crippling them with it.

Despite all that is promised to them, CUNY students are not getting the same bang for their buck. Instead, students incur a tremendous loss of value because they are not able to take advantage of all their campus has to offer while classes remain mostly remote.