From a press release from the Professional Staff Congress of the City University of New York:
Bill Would Improve Quality of Public Higher Education
New York—The State Assembly delivered to Governor Cuomo today legislation that overwhelmingly passed the Assembly and Senate to protect educational quality at New York’s two public university systems, the City University of New York (CUNY) and State University of New York (SUNY). Under Governor Cuomo, per-student funding for CUNY has remained essentially flat. Since 2008, it has been cut 14%.
The “Maintenance of Effort” (M.O.E.) bill would require the state to fund predictable increases to CUNY/SUNY operating costs like utilities, rent and salaries. It would 1) ensure tuition hikes go to improve CUNY/SUNY, rather than to offset underfunding from the state and 2) provide funding to retain and attract quality faculty so CUNY’s half-million degree-seeking and continuing education students continue to get the best education possible.
Barbara Bowen, president of Professional Staff Congress, the union of CUNY faculty and staff, urged the governor to sign the bill, which passed with near-unanimous votes in the Legislature and is supported by both university systems, editorial boards and tens of thousands of students:
“Working-class, poor and immigrant New Yorkers, many of them people of color, who turn to CUNY for an opportunity for a better life, are counting on Governor Cuomo to do the right thing,” said Bowen. “The governor should sign the MOE bill so that CUNY can continue to give students a top-quality education provided by the best faculty and staff.”
Gov. Cuomo has said tuition increases “[make] it possible for public university systems to add faculty, reduce class size, expand program offerings, and improve academic performance.” But his budgets have not funded operating cost increases, and CUNY/SUNY have been forced to use tuition hikes ($300 per year) to fill holes he left in their budgets. This year for CUNY, the Governor’s underfunding meant $51 million that won’t be used to improve students’ education.


  1. The hate toward higher education is disgusting: Aren’t the faculty just “Feathering their own nests?” as many in the public would believe from a cursory glance at headlines and their own pocketbooks. (Leave aside the fact that the majority of higher ed faculty, I’m speaking of part-timers of course, make poverty wages.) Americans are all about fairness and equal opportunity as ideals, but when asked to put up money for the less privileged, all of a sudden our political talk is swamped with bootstrapping ideologies, usually by people who had more than one leg-up in life. Education becomes a political football that is easy to kick down the field.

    In the end, the existence of a middle class is what’s at stake even as too many middle class Americans turn away from believing in the power of higher education. Too many higher ed institutions are predatory about their students’ limited money and too many Republican Governors see the public sector, especially higher ed, as the enemy. That’s a perfect storm to generate hate toward higher ed, from below and from above, despite the good it has done and can do.

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