March 27, 2012
By Tam H. Phan, Director of Community Affairs LaborPress
As Director of Community Affairs for LaborPress, I always have on top of mind our news and advocacy platform for unions and labor organizations. There is one in particular that hits very close to home—adequate funding for CUNY.
I am currently a CUNY graduate student studying Urban Policy and Administration at Brooklyn College and via The College Initiative, a non-profit organization who helps formerly incarcerated men and women reenter society, I also mentor a few men with criminal histories attending CUNY colleges to turn their lives around. I love my college experience as it informs my work, but having a full-time job while going to school is particularly challenging. This difficulty is exacerbated when tuition hikes are constantly looming on the horizon.
Tuition is expected to increase annually for CUNY students over the next several years. Inadequate funding would mean less focus on academics and more focus on working to pay off bills. For some students, they will have to apply for loans, loans that would take a lifetime to repay.
For workers who have children in CUNY schools, this is a source of pride. But with increased educational costs, increased contribution to pensions and increased living expenses, our readers will have to shell out more to help their children. Sometimes the difference of a few hundred dollars a month can mean stability or instability in a family’s financial situation.
As constituents of legislators who represent us, we must make ourselves heard. We need to support adequate funding for our college students. We need to support Chancellor Goldstein’s request for additional funding for CUNY’s childcare centers. The tremendous burden that will follow inadequate funding will pose serious threats to our livelihood.
CUNY has approximately 500,000 students, and is attracting quality students in all fields from a wide variety of backgrounds. Looking around my campus, I see our future workforce working diligently to achieve their goals. Inadequate funding would hinder that progress, decreasing chances of success and leaving doubts in the forecast for us all. Readers should visit supportcuny.org to gain access to sample letters and direct links to email key legislators with ease.