A statewide teachers union today launched a campaign that calls for increased funding for the SUNY and CUNY systems, calling them chronically underfunded.
The “Keep New York a State of Mind” campaign, created by New York State United Teachers, pushes for an endowment that would add full-time faculty and staff, raise community college base aid, for the state to invest strongly in student financial aid, and update and reform the state’s Tuition Assistance Program.
The New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members, including some college employees.
“NYSUT has consistently advocated that our public colleges and universities are vital community assets but they have been seriously underfunded and undervalued resulting in too many students finding their opportunities limited and on-time graduation threatened,” NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi said in a statement.
Over the last five years, the SUNY and CUNY systems had nearly $2 billion in cuts, which drives up tuition and decreases quality affordable higher education, NYSUT said.
In 2011, SUNY was put on a yearly annual tuition increase of $300 — giving the system better forecasting of its revenue.
“New York state must find a way to re-imagine public funding for public higher education. The City University’s funding from New York State is now below 1990 levels, while tuition has risen 43 percent just since 2008,” Barbara Bowen, president of the Professional Staff Congress at CUNY, said in statement. “If New York wants to remain the opportunity state, it must find a way to resolve this funding crisis.”
SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher was in Washington D.C. today as part of President Obama’s effort to make college more affordable.
She answered questions from the White House press corps and got kudos from press secretary Jay Carney, who joked, “I think you’d make a great White House press secretary.”