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Union backs application fee waiver

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A gain for the city’s students

Mayor Bill de Blasio with students at Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School.
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The PSC welcomed Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement on September 26 that CUNY would end its $65 application fee for low-income applicants, a benefit that will affect an estimated 37,500 families.

“The members of the PSC join me in congratulating Mayor de Blasio on this creative and necessary initiative,” said PSC President Barbara Bowen as the administration unveiled its plan at Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School in Brooklyn. “Education – including college education – should be a right, not a privilege. Anything that removes initial barriers to access is a gain for all New Yorkers. Some of my own best students have come to CUNY from lives of extreme poverty and dislocation; the University will be richer for the presence of students whose initial access will be smoothed by the application fee waiver. And all New Yorkers gain when more New Yorkers have access to CUNY.”


ONE LESS OBSTACLE

According to the mayor’s office, “The CUNY application fee waiver allows a student to complete and submit an application listing up to six CUNY schools free of charge. Currently, over half of college-bound graduates of NYC public high schools enroll in CUNY colleges.”

The mayor said that the cost of the fee waiver would be about $2 million, which would be split between the city budget and CUNY. He added that the move would give a free application process to an estimated 37,500 families, up from nearly 6,500 in previous years.

“Now, CUNY is where more than half of our public school students go to college. It’s the most important opportunity for higher education for most New York City public school students,” Mayor de Blasio told reporters. “Well, we want to see a lot more kids make it. We want to see a lot more kids have the experience of succeeding, of getting to college and then flourishing in college. And that’s why we are so focused on making sure that the application fee is not an impediment.”

He continued, “And I can tell you that for families all over this city who are struggling to make ends meet, application fees for college are a big challenge, and especially if you have more than one child. So, we have to go head-on at that problem, take another burden off the hardworking New Yorkers and eliminate that application fee. That was something we knew would make a difference. It would encourage kids to apply to CUNY. It would make it easier for them. It would say to them that we’re not going to let anything stand in their way.”

Chancellor James B. Milliken said, “This dramatic increase in fee waivers eliminates a hurdle for thousands of low-income students seeking higher education and is consistent with CUNY’s historic mission to increase access to quality higher education.”