Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Higher Education

Higher Education

  • New York Universities, It’s Time to Tear Down That Wall

    Fordham University behind the wall (photo: Brian Martindale)


    New York universities are walling people out. Major private institutions across the city are surrounded by gates, but not because they are in the most dangerous neighborhoods. Rather, it appears that largely white student bodies are being walled off from their surrounding communities because of unfounded fear of racial others.

    Columbia University, in a neighborhood adjacent to Central Harlem, is blockaded on every side with a

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  • What’s Next for CUNY After Three Tumultuous Pandemic School Years

     

    CUNY Chancellor Matos Rodriguez (third from left) visits Guttman Community College (photo: CUNY)


    The City University of New York (CUNY), the largest urban public university system in the country, is at something of a crossroads. Coming out of two especially challenging pandemic school years, the university just completed a mostly in-person year, with the usual sweep of celebratory in-person graduations, and graduates entering a strong economy.

    On the other hand, the COVID-19 pandemic is not gone, and neither are the

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  • Max Politics Podcast: The State of CUNY, with Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez

    CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez (photo: CUNY)


    June 23, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez on the State of CUNY

    CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez joined the show to discuss the "state of CUNY," including his message to this year's graduates, how CUNY is working to better prepare graduates for jobs and careers, pandemic enrollment challenges, hiring additional full-time professors, and much more.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter ...

  • City Council Examines CUNY Employment of Adjunct Faculty Amid Pandemic Turmoil

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    A CUNY classroom (photo: @cunyedu)


    During a hearing this past Friday, November 12, the New York City Council sought new information about the use and treatment of adjunct faculty at the City University of New York (CUNY), a controversial topic that has become more fraught amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The virtual hearing, held by the Council’s higher education committee and chaired by Council Member Inez Barron, a Brooklyn Democrat, included testimony from two main CUNY officials: Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost Daniel

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  • Finally, a CUNY Budget Request We Can Support

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    BMCC (photo: @CUNY)


    The relationship between the CUNY Board of Trustees and the city and state governments that fund the university is complicated. Appointed by the same elected officials from whom the institution requests funding, the Board of Trustees often fails to ask for the budget the University really needs. Last year they didn’t even request money to cover fringe benefits, a basic cost of operations.

    This year, however, is different. The Board is finally

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  • An Assignment for the Federal Government: Tackle Student Debt and Expand Educational Opportunity by Doubling Pell Grants

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    Students graduating (photo: Bruce Gilbert/Forham Alumni)


    For nearly 50 years, the Pell Grant has been the centerpiece of federal student aid, helping individuals most in need of financial support to attend the college or university of their choice. Pell Grants help more than 370,000 New York students and their families afford a college education every year. They are proven to be the most effective and equitable investment the federal government can make in students. Simply put, investing in Pell Grants tackles student debt

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  • New York’s Colleges and Universities are Key to Its Revival

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    Pace University (photo: Pace University)


    We knew our city never was or would be dead. Vaccines are here, restaurants have re-opened for indoor dining, and commercial life is returning. Apartment sales, rental volumes, and prices are back on the upswing. And throughout the downturn, major, forward-thinking employers like Facebook and TikTok signed giant new office leases in Manhattan.

    But we still need to do everything we can to bring in the next generations of New Yorkers. And that means recognizing what an economic engine New York’s colleges

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  • CUNY Chancellor on What's Next for the Public University System and New York's Recovery

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    CUNY Chancellor Matos Rodriguez (photo: Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez)


    For the City University of New York’s hundreds of thousands of students and millions of alumni, the largest urban university system in the United States has long served as a springboard. A 2017 study by Harvard economist Raj Chetty and coauthors, ranked five CUNY schools in the top 10 of their economic mobility index, meaning these schools have achieved high success in propelling lower-income students to

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  • CUNY Nursing Schools Continue Amid Pandemic, with Major Questions for One Program

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    Gotham Health (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    On Friday, the New York City Council’s Committee on Higher Education heard from administrators and students of CUNY’s nursing schools to understand how they have maintained student progression despite transitioning to online learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    CUNY has 14 nursing schools that offer a variety of certificates and associates, bachelors, masters, and doctorate degree programs. An average of 1,800 students graduate every year from CUNY nursing programs, many of whom go off to

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  • Racialized Austerity: The Case of CUNY

     

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    Bronx Community College students (photo: @CUNY)


    In the aftermath of the covid outbreak and in a moment of Black Lives Matter national organizing in response to police brutality the issue of racial justice has lit up cities and towns across the country. Racist policing practices have had a huge impact on public opinion, with polling data showing that even more white suburban voters favor policy reforms. The shift has been public, sudden, and potentially electorally-decisive during this political season.

    What remains less visible are racialized and

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  • We are Justice-Involved Women of Color; And We are 2020 College Graduates and Innovators

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    Graduates (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    Plagued by a pandemic and confronted by a national outcry against racial injustice, our final semester in college was challenging at best. As nontraditional students and Black women directly impacted by a deeply-flawed criminal legal system, we are no strangers to adversity. We consistently prove, time and again, that we can succeed despite our backgrounds.

    That success is predicated on an unmovable foundation that reframes our relationship with the world and the issues we face today – a college degree. A college

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  • Challenges, Uncertainty Abound for CUNY System and Its Students, Faculty and Staff

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    A CUNY campus in the Bronx (photo: Bronx Community College)


    CUNY, New York City's public university system, is facing a crisis within a crisis, as it looks at expected budget cuts while supporting students, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds, through a pandemic and its fallout, including vanishing economic opportunity.

    Intended as a pathway to upward mobility for city residents, many of its students are from the same populations most severely hit by the pandemic and face some of the most immediate difficulties posed by COVID-19 -- food,

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  • Investing in New York City’s Future

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    Saving for college (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Across every borough, neighborhood, and community in New York City, families are united behind one wish: that their children will have the access and opportunity to fulfill their dreams. Making this wish a reality, however, is more complicated.

    Increasingly, current household income determines a child’s future. Nationally,...

  • As Cuomo Proposes Excelsior Scholarship Expansion, 6 Things to Know About the Program

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    (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


    In January 2017, Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled the Excelsior Scholarship, New York State’s “free college” initiative. About 20,000 students were awarded Excelsior in the inaugural 2017-18 year. In 2018-19, the number of scholarship recipients rose to 24,000, and for 2019-20, the Legislature projects an increase to 30,000, which will equal no more than 5% of the state’s public college enrollment.    

    The 5% figure is small compared to the massive hype that surrounded the

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  • For Future Generations, New York City and State Must Significantly Increase CUNY Investment Now

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    (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    I’m a CUNY graduate twice over – my bachelor’s and master’s degrees are both from Brooklyn College. Between the seven years I took for my four-year degree, and the four years for my two-year degree, I’ve spent about as much time on a CUNY campus as anyone. My professors, my fellow students, my overall CUNY experience shaped who I am and what my driving principles are -- what I’ve been fighting for as an activist and an elected official.

    Now, as tuition rises and investment stagnates, I fear that students across our city

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  • With Push from Cuomo and Funding from Vance, New York College-in-Prisons Program is Flourishing

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    (photo: Bard Prison Initiative)


    In February 2014, early in his first reelection year, Governor Andrew Cuomo made what proved to be a bold proposal to reduce recidivism by creating opportunities for higher education in state prisons, seizing on an enduring problem at the intersection of social and criminal justice reform efforts. But he had misjudged the political landscape and the announcement was met with significant backlash followed by an uncharacteristic reversal for the seasoned New York powerbroker.

    It took nearly four more years, and litigation with the world’s largest

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  • The Right to a Free and Quality Public Higher Education in New York

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    (photo: The City College of New York)


    CUNY has long been the pride of New York City and its cradle of opportunity. But at a recent legislative hearing on higher education in Brooklyn, we heard from teachers, administrators, and students about a harsh reality: After years of state underinvestment in public college, our CUNY system is teetering on the edge of crisis. 

    Both of us have been blessed with a CUNY education. Yet both of us see firsthand the heartbreak and struggle that many students face when they seek to advance themselves through higher education. In the end,

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  • ‘Free College’ at One SUNY School Shows ‘Excelsior’ Progress and Problems

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    (photo: governor's office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship is increasing credit accumulation and college retention rates, but the program still needs to meet more students where they are at.

    In 2017, Governor Cuomo embraced the “free college” movement championed by Senator Bernie Sanders and created New York State’s Excelsior Scholarship. Under Excelsior, students from families with annual incomes below $110,000—and increasing to $125,000 in fall 2019—can go to State University of New York (SUNY) and the City University of New York

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  • The Opportunity Ahead for the New CUNY Chancellor

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    Former CUNY Chancellor James Milliken, left, & incoming Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez (photo: CUNY)


    Today -- Wednesday, May 1 -- Felix Matos-Rodriguez assumes the post of CUNY chancellor following a year-long search. After successfully leading two CUNY colleges, Chancellor Matos-Rodriguez takes over an institution that has made important strides in recent years, including opening an innovative new community college and launching nationally renowned programs like CUNY ASAP.

    To help grow New York City’s middle class and greatly expand economic

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  • Colleges Likely to Continue Bans If New York Legalizes Recreational Marijuana Use

    St. John's University

    St. John's University (photo via St. John's on flickr)


    The legalization of adult recreational marijuana use is on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2019 agenda for the first 100 days of his new term, and the governor is expected to announce details of his legalization proposal on Tuesday, during a joint State of the State speech and executive budget presentation. There appears to be support for the measure, at least the general concept of

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  • To Help More Students Succeed in College, Reform Remedial Education

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    (photo via LaGuardia Community College)


    New York’s community college students face long odds of graduating. Only 25 percent of community college students statewide—and just 22 percent in New York City—earn an associate’s degree in three years, an enormous barrier to economic opportunity in a state where a college credential is

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  • The Ups and Downs of Excelsior Scholarship’s Freshman Year and What Comes Next

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    Gov. Cuomo celebrates Excelsior (photo via the Governor's Office)


    The Excelsior Scholarship is a little over a year old, which makes it a good time to take stock. In October 2017 as the program launched, Governor Andrew Cuomo proclaimed, “Our first-in-the-nation Excelsior Scholarship is designed so more New Yorkers go to college tuition-free and receive the education they deserve to reach their full potential." Now that the program is in its third semester, we can explore the program’s freshman year experience to assess its impact, successes, and struggles. Who has benefited

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  • The Excelsior Scholarship’s Academic Requirements Are Far Too High

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    Gov. Cuomo announcing Excelsior (Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    In January 2014, Kellyn C. was 49 and had been recently laid off from a human resources position. “You need a college degree to remain competitive,” she said. She enrolled as a first-time freshman at CUNY Medgar Evers College (MEC) in Brooklyn. Three and a half years later, she reports, “I’m doing well. I’m applying myself and forging ahead.” She has 96 credits, a GPA above 3.0, and is on track to graduate in December 2017 or January 2018—all significant accomplishments at

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  • Experts Eye 'College Success' for City Students

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    (2017 Macaulay Honors College commencement, via CUNY Newswire)


    Professors, researchers, and administrators gathered Monday morning to discuss issues related to higher education in New York, especially how to ensure that more New Yorkers are college-ready and successful once they enter higher education. The symposium, held at The Greene Space and titled “Moving the Needle on College Success in NYC,” was hosted by the Center for an Urban Future (CUF), a think tank focused on

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  • Cuomo’s Excelsior Plan Falls Far Short of Making CUNY Free Again

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    (photo above via The Governor's Office) (image below by Becca Glaser)


    With the regularity of a ritual, every year the advocates of high-quality public higher education make a pilgrimage to Albany. Every year, for over 40 years, the request has been the same: stop de-funding higher education. And nearly every year, for over 40 years, the Legislature and Governor do the same thing: cut funding and approve tuition hikes. As a result, annual per-student government expenditures in New York’s public higher education system languish at an

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