A statewide teachers union launched a campaign today calling for state legislators to invest more money in the State University of New York and City University of New York systems.
The “Keep New York a State of Mind” campaign pushes for the creation of an endowment to support the addition of full-time faculty and the expansion of student financial aid.
CUNY and SUNY have experienced nearly $2 billion in funding cuts over the past five years, which has led to tuition increases, New York State United Teachers said. The union is pushing for the reversal of those cuts.
NYSUT, which has 600,000 members statewide, also recommends increasing the operating aid at CUNY and SUNY and updating the state’s Tuition Assistance Program.
“NYSUT has consistently advocated that our public colleges and universities are vital community assets, but they have been seriously underfunded and undervalued,” said NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi in a statement.
The campaign comes as SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher visited the White House today to discuss expanding college opportunities, particularly for students from low-income households.
“SUNY’s standing as one of the most affordable and accessible systems of public higher education in the world…has positioned us to shape the future of our sector, and we are proud to fill this critical role,” she said.
During the meeting, which included President Barack Obama and members of his administration, Zimpher also touted the new Open SUNY initiative, which she announced on Tuesday during her State of the SUNY address in Albany.
The initiative expands the system’s online education with the debut of eight degree programs through six SUNY schools, including Empire State College in Saratoga Springs.