Today’s news:

Borough students prepare for big CUNY tuition hike

A committee of the City University of New York has recommended raising tuition by $800 at senior colleges and $300 at community colleges for the coming academic year.

At their Monday evening meeting at CUNY’s headquarters in Manhattan, the six members of the fiscal affairs committee of the board of trustees proposed raising tuition to $4,000 a year at the senior colleges and $2,800 at community colleges.

Queens College in Flushing and York College in Jamaica are the two senior institutions in the borough, while Queensborough Community College in Bayside and LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City are the community schools.

The full board of trustees is scheduled to vote on the increase on June 23 and is expected to approve the changes.

The hikes are lower than what was proposed by state politicians. Gov. George Pataki had requested a $1,200 increase at the senior colleges, while the state Legislature had proposed a $950 increase.

The committee also proposed:

• A $5,440 tuition for full-time master’s students, an increase of $1,090.

• A $4,870 tuition for doctoral students, an increase of $520.

• A $7,130 tuition for law school students, an increase of $1,430.

The apparent consensus by CUNY comes after months of student demonstrations against the increases.

At Queens College and Queensborough, students staged protests against the potential hikes, saying they would force many to drop out of the schools.

At the time, the protesters worried the state would cut the Tuition Assistance Program, which funds scholarships for lower income students.

The state has since restored cuts to the TAP program, as it had done the year before.

Asi Klein, project coordinator for the New York Public Interest Research Group’s headquarters at Queens College, had a mixed reaction to the CUNY committee’s recommendation.

“We feel that students are already paying too much for public education in New York,” he said. “That being said, we do appreciate CUNY’s position in lowering the damage.”

When the state raised tuition at CUNY by $750 in 1995, the last time students faced a hike, it resulted in 5 percent of the students leaving the system, according to a NYPIRG study.

“The tuition increase led 29,000 people across the state to drop out over two years,” Klein said.

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141

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