CUNY and SUNY students are facing a 3% tuition hike in Gov. Kathy Hochul’s budget proposal, but many state lawmakers are pushing back and students say now is not a good time to raise rates.

The proposed hikes are projected to bring in an additional $97 million for the state university system.

“Yes, I am really concerned about these tuition hikes,” said Salimatou Doumbouya, a CUNY student. “They are definitely going to harm the student population. Being the chairperson of the University Student Senate we have always been against any tuition hikes.”

What You Need To Know

  • Gov. Kathy Hochul has proposed a 3% tuition hike for CUNY and SUNY students in her executive budget

  • The chancellors of both CUNY and SUNY defended the increase during a budget hearing in Albany Monday

  • Students say it’s the wrong time for a tuition hike with enrollment declining

That sentiment was shared by some state lawmakers who held a budget hearing in Albany on higher education funding Monday.

“How will a tuition increase help reverse the trend of declining enrollment and bring the students back to SUNY and to CUNY, and I ask that question of both of you,” asked state Sen. Toby Stavisky, a Queens Democrat.

Already, 53% of students don’t pay their own tuition, instead receiving assistance through Pell Grants and the Tuition Assistance Program, or TAP.

The state university system has not raised tuition since 2019. And the chancellors from both SUNY and CUNY defended the proposed increase.

“Fundamentally, SUNY is deeply committed to affordability,” SUNY Chancellor John King told lawmakers. “And we stand out in how affordable SUNY is by comparison to other public ed, higher education systems. That said, campuses need a reliable, predictable set of expectations around revenue.”

There are about 250,000 students in the CUNY system, and according to the city university system’s chancellor, those who can least afford an increase will be protected.

“If you think about our community colleges, the tuition will still be under TAP,” said. CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez. “So, probably around 80% of the students will not see a tuition increase in the community colleges, which is the sector we are most concerned with because of enrollment.”

Enrollment has dropped significantly for CUNY, which lost about 100,000 students during the pandemic. CUNY is now encouraging students to participate in their online programs.