posted 2010-12-01 13:13:44

Set Phasers on Groan

Set Phasers on Groan

Tuition increases go into effect

J e n a d y G a r sh o fs k y

Staff Writer

Hunter students, prepare to groan: Tuition is going up again.

On Nov. 16, CUNY’s Fiscal Affairs Committee voted in favor of a tuition increase in addition to budget cuts. The changes are already in effect for next semester.

According to Dr. Sandi Cooper, chair of the University Faculty Senate, students aren’t the only ones who are disappointed.

“I don’t know about the administration, but the faculty is unhappy, we’re not dancing for joy. I’m not optimistic for the short run,” Cooper said. “Hopefully in the long run things will get better.” But she believes the only alternative to the increase would be “firing faculty and ending majors.”

CUNY’s precarious fiscal status is the stated reason for the increase. To make the situation worse, the federal stimulus funds that cover CUNY’s community colleges are set to expire in 2012. These funds are valuedat $42.8 million dollars.

The tuition raise amounts to a $115-persemester increase for full-time undergraduate resident students at senior colleges, $75 for full-time undergraduate resident students at community colleges, $185 for fulltime masters resident students, $165 for full-time doctoral resident students, $255 for full-time law school resident students, and a five percent increase of per-credit rates. Sophomore Jessica Gomez worries when she hears about the additional $115 she will have to pay in the upcoming semester.

“They should find somewhere else to take money from instead of taking money from students who have to pay for school,” Gomez said.

The Board of Trustees also approved an additional tuition increase of two percent for the fall term. “In general, the economics club agrees the tuition hikes are necessary,” said Meryam Bukhari, the president of the Hunter College Economics Club. “But we do agree that they are painful and unfair If students are expected to pay more, there should be more opportunities created to make the extra money spent worthwhile.”

CUNY budget cuts have also affected financial aid awards. Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) grants were reduced by $75 a student.

Women and gender studies student Claudia O’Brien thinks the whole thing is a sham.

“Public services get cut due to fabricated economic crises,” O’Brien said. “Tuition cuts affect communities with disproportionate opportunities.” O’Brien calls the tuition hikes “attempts to privatize public education.” Although the tuition increases for the spring have already gone into affect, some students aren’t even aware of them.

Of the 15 Hunter College students surveyed for this article, five didn’t know the hikes were happening and eight opposed them.

Junior David Guerrero is an organizer for the International Socialist Organization and a member of the student activist group Hunter Fights Back.

“This is total class warfare,” Guerrero said, clutching a petition to stop the tuition increases. “There is no justification.” He remains optimistic, though, and hopes to spread awareness of the hikes. “Organizing will make a difference,” Guerrero said. “Petitions are good, but not as effective. We need mass student demonstrations to understand what is going on. We have the power to win this if we organize.”