February 2016 Issue
January 26, 2016

Funding for higher ed focus of multi-media campaign

Author: By Kara Smith
Source: NYSUT United
higher ed campaign graph

A new NYSUT campaign urges lawmakers to "Invest in Futures" by ensuring the state pays its fair share of public higher education funding, including a real maintenance of effort for SUNY and CUNY four-year campuses that covers mandatory costs; honoring New York state's commitment to fund 40 percent of community college operating costs; and strengthening the state's Tuition Assistance Program.

The campaign supports the statewide union's higher education affiliates: United University Professions at the State University of New York, Professional Staff Congress at the City University of New York and the community colleges. It will launch during NYSUT's Higher Education Lobby days, Feb. 24–25.

"Access to public higher education cannot be a luxury afforded to a few, but rather an opportunity for all," said NYSUT Vice President Catalina Fortino, whose office handles higher education issues. "It's time for lawmakers to invest in the future of New York state students and fully fund higher education."

The campaign image features students, post graduation, clad in academic regalia; one wears a mortar board with the slogan "Invest in Futures." The visual underscores the legislative importance of allocating sufficient state funding for higher education so students can complete college without incurring excessive debt. Since 2008, the start of the Great Recession, state cuts to SUNY, CUNY and the community colleges have totaled nearly $1.5 billion, driving up tuition costs and jeopardizing the affordability of a college education.