Funding for the City University of New York system will take a significant hit under the state budget passed March 31.
CUNY’s four-year senior colleges took the brunt of the cuts, undergoing a $90 million reduction after the state Legislature voted to include $40 million in additional reductions to the program beyond the $50 million cutback Gov. Andrew Cuomo had proposed.
State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone), the ranking member of the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee, has been an outspoken critic of the cuts, which she said will have drastic impacts on students and faculty.
“Students are going to find, I would suspect ... fewer class offerings, the class sizes may be increased, there may be programs discontinued and the ratio of full-time faculty to adjuncts is going to diminish,” she said. “It’s unfair. Overall spending was reduced in the state budget about 2 or 3 percent. However, cuts to higher education are far more massive than to other areas, with a cut of 10 percent.”
The Legislature did, however, restore $5.1 million of the $15 million cut to CUNY community colleges that Cuomo had included in his initial budgetary proposal. State Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) said that restoration will soften the blow for city students.
“The college dream should be in reach for all students regardless of their families’ income,” he said in a statement. “That’s why it’s critical that CUNY remains affordable.”
Tuition for the spring semester at Queens College, one of five CUNY schools in Queens, rose 3 percent. CUNY schools can choose anywhere between a 5 percent to 7 percent tuition hike under the new state budget.
The five City University schools in Queens are Queens College, York College, Queensborough Community College, LaGuardia Community College and the CUNY Law School. Students did not have to pay to attend CUNY schools until 1975.
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cn
©2011 Community News Group
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