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On Wednesday, November 16, 2016 at 12:00pm on the steps of City Hall, Councilwoman Inez Barron, Chair of the Committee on Higher Education will be joined by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, other Elected Officials and Student Leaders to announce the passage of Intro 1138-A. Invited speakers include: State Assemblyman Charles Barron, Public Advocate Letitia James, Chancellor James B. Milliken, University Student Chair Chika Onyejiukwa and Professional Staff Congress President Barbara Bowen.
Council Member Inez Barron states, "I am a proud graduate of Hunter College. I was fortunate to have attended CUNY when tuition was free. Our current CUNY students find themselves struggling to balance tuition, student fees, textbook costs, rent, food, transportation and child care costs, as well as often times having work schedules. We, as elected officials have an obligation to assist with helping college students achieve a college degree, as we know, it is access to higher education that leads to improved academic, social and economic conditions, both for the individual and for the society at-large. It is our obligation and responsibility as political leaders to remove barriers to admission and completion of college. We know that student debt has surpassed consumer debt levels. Tuition cost is a contributing factor to students not completing their college program. In today's highly technological world, if we make provisions to provide for college as a mandatory post secondary education, we will expand the opportunities and increase the number of those who have been marginalized and locked out of participating meaningfully in the world economy. It is my hope that this task force will conduct the necessary research and identify possible funding streams to lift the burden of students from having to pay for tuition".
“When CUNY was predominantly for the white immigrants it was called the “free academy”, no tuition. When Blacks, Latinos, and people of color populated CUNY, tuition was imposed. I want to highly commend Councilmember Inez Barron for championing the rallying call to bring back free tuition at CUNY. This commission and study is long overdue”, said Assembly Member Charles Barron.
“I thank Council Member Barron for her great commitment to the CUNY system and for shepherding legislation to establish a tuition examination task force through the City Council. I am a proud product of our city’s public university system, and the educational experience I received from City Tech and John Jay was truly second-to-none. In 2016, following a report I requested that the Independent Budget Office complete on community colleges, I urged the CUNY Board of Trustees to examine the feasibility of reestablishing free tuition at those institutions. We can go even further, and it is my firm belief that we should explore every possible avenue to eliminating any barriers that may prevent prospective students from benefitting from the education and training that CUNY has to offer. If we are truly determined to close the inequality gap, then that work must include addressing the affordability of our public colleges” as stated by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
“As tuition continues to rise at colleges across the country, we have a gem in the CUNY system that provides affordable, high-quality education for thousands of students and we should strive to maintain that. The Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus (BLAC) has made fighting against tuition hikes at CUNY a priority and we congratulate Council Member Barron for her hard work to pass this legislation. We will work with her to ensure that the task force is able to fulfill its mission and that CUNY continues to provide a high-caliber, low-cost education for future generations of students,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres, Co-Chair of the BLAC.
"Access to a college education is access to opportunity," said Council Member Ben Kallos, a public university graduate. "Unfortunately, as college tuition is increasing everywhere, even in our City's public university system, that opportunity is shrinking. By examining how to maximize affordability at CUNY schools, Introduction 1138-A will go a long way toward ensuring opportunity through
"The continual disinvestment in CUNY has prevented many New Yorkers from living a prosperous life. The irrational tuition increase from 2011-2016 has had adverse affects on CUNY students. No student should have to choose between obtaining an education and facing food & shelter insecurities. During a time when the longevity of an affordable and accessible higher education is uncertain, it brings CUNY students relief to know our elected leaders in the City Council are working to preserve affordability and accessibility of CUNY”, said Chika Onyejiukwa, Chair of the University Student Senate.
Dr. Barbara Bowen, President of Professional Staff Congress/CUNY states, “This is an idea whose time has come. The CUNY faculty and staff represented by the PSC congratulate Higher Education Committee Chair Inez Barron and the members of the Committee for advancing this essential and visionary legislation. Affordable tuition—even free tuition—is not out of reach for New York. Why should we not invest in this generation of New Yorkers just as the city invested in generations in the past? Nothing signals more powerfully the city’s commitment to all its people than ensuring access to and investment in public college education. CUNY desperately needs new investment and affordable tuition. The task force created today will go a long way toward making that possible.”