NYC seeks return to tuition-free CUNY system
- New York City Council members are seeking ways to make the City University of New York tuition-free for city residents, but are divided on how to account for more than $780 million in tuition revenue paid in out-of-pocket money by students beyond federal and state loans and scholarships.
- State appropriations to CUNY dropped from 68% of the school’s total budget in 1989 to 48% in 2006.
- State and federal student aid programs, when compared to institutional tuition increases exceeding 20% over the same time period, are no longer enough to cover non-tuition expenses like housing, meal plans and books, which can range between $9,000 and $20,000.
With the range of discussion surrounding free tuition at public colleges and universities from federal perspectives, little consideration has been given to states’ ability to create the same prospects for students. For CUNY, city officials are also charged with accounting for how state subsidies could be negatively affected with dramatic increases in enrollment.
There is no easy answer, if any, for the concept of free tuition. But several states and the federal government are moving towards building and funding community college pipelines at the higher education first choice to maintain affordability and professional development.
For states like Tennessee and North Carolina, already moving ahead with community college pipelines, the four-year institutional impact could result in declining enrollment, lowered revenue from tuition and federal appropriations and diminished usefulness for some non-professional degree programs. This could force smaller institutions into the crosshairs for merger or closure.
- Gotham Gazette Could CUNY be tuition-free again?