CUNY vote to raise tuition angers students in borough

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In front of protesting students, the City University of New York voted at a meeting Monday to hike tuition by $800 at its four-year schools and $300 at its two-year schools, the largest dollar increase in the system’s history.

The 13-1 vote at Baruch College was not a surprise since a CUNY committee had already approved the plan.

The increase angered some students, but was less painful than the original proposal. In February, Gov. George Pataki recommended a $1,200 increase at the senior, four-year schools, and the state Legislature suggested a hike of $950.

The vote boosted tuition at the borough’s four public 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 two-year schools.

For the next school year, tuition will be $4,000 a year at the senior colleges and $2,800 for the community colleges.

The board also approved:

• 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 hike was the biggest in CUNY’s history in terms of dollar amounts, although students were hit with a larger percentage increase in 1995.

CUNY was free until 1976.

Joel Serrano, an incoming senior at Queens College, joined Monday’s protest at Baruch College.

“I’m upset, and even that may be an understate­ment,” Serrano said. “Even though it’s not a surprise, it’s going to be hard to deal with.”

Serrano said he did not expect Monday’s protesters to be so vocal. The students demonstrated in the same room in which the board voted.

Serrano said with his father unemployed, he will probably have to take a job in order to make it through his final year.

“It’s going to hurt my involvement in school,” he said. “I like to stay active, I like to participate in extracurricular activities, and I like to have time to study as well. It’s going to be hard to balance all of those things.”

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 141.

Posted 7:08 pm, October 10, 2011
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