Tuition rates are soaring and 40 million Americans are living with $1.2 trillion of student loan debt. What kind of impact does this staggering number have on the US economy?
Weigh in below and tune in to “Real Money with Ali Velshi” at 7p ET/4p PT for more on the story.
Sign up now to come with NYSR to the New York State Capitol on March 6th
Thursday, March 6th is the official launch date of the Higher Ed Not Debt campaign, and in conjunction with this New York Students Rising is planning an action at the New York State Capitol in Albany, NY.
Students across New York - and across the country - are in crisis. Student loan debt is skyrocketing, tuition is increasing, state funding for public higher education is down, federal funding for Pell Grants is down, administrative compensation is going up and up and the prospects for jobs after students graduate aren’t there.
Join with students from across New York State as they converge on the Capitol in Albany to send a message to state legislators that enough is enough.
Our demands:1. Immediate freeze on tuition.
2. Restoration of the $1.5+ billion cut from SUNY and CUNY’s budgets. Right now, working class students bear the brunt of the cost to keep SUNY and CUNY open - not state support.
Join us in Albany on March 6th!
Information on transportation and buses coming soon! Sign up here if you’re coming http://tinyurl.com/NYSR36
Medgar Evers College Teach-In
On Tuesday, February 11th, over 50 people attended a forum put together by New York Students Rising focusing, on the student debt crisis and what’s being done about it. This event was held at Medgar Evers College, the only historically black college at the City University of New York (CUNY). Journalist Sarah Jaffe, from InTheseTimes and Robert Applebaum from StudentDebtCrisis.org started the conversation by outlining the crisis in higher education at allowed for student debt to reach as high as 1.2 trillion in the U.S., from increasing tuition at public and private colleges, the lack of investment in higher education at the state level, and the role of Wall St. in creating a crisis.
By Rebecca Berlin, third-year anthropology major, Student Senator and organizer with New York Students Rising at SUNY New Paltz.
This statement was read by Rebecca Berlin at the Nov. 25 public hearing on Park Point. The next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. at the New Paltz Town…
Help Issac Stay in School !
My name is Isaac Campbell and I am a senior at the SUNY Purchase in Purchase, New York studying Arts Management. I am also a member of SUNY Purchase Men’s Basketball team who are looking to repeat. I spent my whole life before Undergrad in low-income neighborhoods that include Newark, New Jersey and Mount Vernon, New York with my mother and 3 siblings. My parents have work so hard and sacrificed so much to grant me the best education we could afford. I graduated from Mount Vernon High School in 2008 and then attended Westchester Community College in the fall of 2008. I enrolled at Purchase College in the Fall of 2010 and have been striving ever since.
I have embarked on my senior year in college with 30 credits left until I graduate and I have run into an obstacle. My family is not in any financial position to help me pay for my education now just as they were not able to help me in the past. I fund my education through minor financial aid and money out of pocket with my current retail job. Tuition hikes have finally taken its toll on me and now I have a bill of $5,000 that my family and I simply cannot pay. I have tried loans, without co-signers and was denied and the co-signer I have had has been denied. My parents , they wanted my siblings and I to have a better education then they had as any parent would want for their child. If I am able to graduate, I will join my 2 remaining siblings as the first members of my immediate family to finish college. I do not know where else to turn. So I am asking whoever can help to please “Go Fun Me”! -»I have until January 23rd to raise the money!
Wednesday, December 4th CUNY Students rise up against Citibank and student debt
Citibank provides prepaid cards to students receiving financial aid and/or work-study. What they don’t tell you is that the card is riddled with hidden fees. Also, it allows Citibank to use student financial aid as a short term loan for themselves. CUNY gives Citibank a 300 million dollar loan via its Scholar Support Card.
On Wednesday, December 4th, as part of the New Day New York December 5th Day of Action and Week of Action, students are holding an action outside of Citibank to protest a card system that allows wall street to skim off of CUNY students.
“ When the aid checks are deposited students won’t be able to access their money for a couple days. During that time the bank can use that money as it pleases, probably for its own investing. As CUNY student financial aid amounts to some $300 million a year, that’s a lot of money. So in essence, every year, some of the economically poorest students in the nation will be giving Citibank, the world’s second biggest bank, an interest-free, $300 million loan with which it can make some easy profit. In sum, the bank is acting as a carpetbagger.
What is Citibank’s record?
CUNY’s choice of Citibank is disturbing as the bank’s record is characterized by anti-student policies, racism and union-busting. In October 1995, the Campaign for an America that Works awarded Citibank its “Hog of the Month” award for the bank’s lobbying efforts to kill direct student lending. The federal loans permit students loans directly from the government without exorbitant fees or interest. Citibank lobbied against these loans because it wishes to force students to receive loans through commercial banks. That would allow the banks to gouge students with fees.
In 1989, Citibank tightened credit for students seeking to obtain U.S.-guaranteed loans through the bank. According to the Wall Street Journal, Citibank drafted guidelines to deny loans to students at schools whose default rates topped 25%. Wrote the Journal, “[The policy] would potentially hit hundreds of…colleges that cater to low-income students and minorities. Federal surveys have shown that several branches of the City University of New York…have default rates above 25%.” In other words, Citibank created a policy that discriminated against CUNY students.
In 1988, Citibank denied some University of California students credit cards because of the students’ ages and majors. According to the Oakland Tribune, Citibank had a policy of denying cards to humanities majors because of their alleged poor credit histories. “They’ve targeted [their services at] student groups they think will have higher-paying jobs, such as MBA students,” the Tribune quoted a Stanford business professor.
Such discrimination extends to Citibank’s lending practices. A federal report published in October 1997 showed Citibank three times more likely to reject black loan applicants than white. In a May 1996 report, NYC Public Advocate Mark Green showed the bank had closed a slew of branches in low-income neighborhoods, many in New York’s black and Latino communities. Green accused Citibank of “financial segregation”. One Bronx councilwoman accused Citibank of “total insensitivity” to the neighborhood she represents.
CUNY’s involvement with Citibank is akin to assisting a company still operating in apartheid South Africa. Tellingly, Citibank was the last American bank to divest out of South Africa. The bitter ender bank didn’t leave until 1987, years after an anti-apartheid divestiture campaign had begun.
Discrimination also characterizes the bank’s union-busting. In 1994, Citibank hired a new cleaning and maintenance firm. The new employer refused to rehire the janitors, many of them minority, who had previously cleaned Citibank branches. These workers, members of Local 32B-32J, earned $13.10 an hour with generous benefits. Instead, the new firm hired non-union workers for $7 per hour. Citibank supports the arrangement, calling the halved wages “moderately less rich.”The union has accused Citibank of “destroy[ing] the living standards of minority workers” and “pitt[ing] two groups of minority workers against each other.”
MCI is vehemently anti-union. In 1986, MCI fired 450 workers at its Southfield, Michigan sales office despite high profits there and just eight days after employees had notified MCI their intention to organize a union.”
CUNY students organize in opposition to the BoT
Following the events of this semester - the arrest of several students among those protesting David Patraeus and the militarization of CUNY; along with the dismantling of the Guillermo Morales-Assata Shakur Community Center at City College - a growing number of students have been organizing in resistance to the CUNY Board of Trustees.
On Monday, November 25th CUNY students, along with the Professional Staff Congress and Transit Workers Union, participated in a day of action focused around opposition to a proposed CUNY Policy on Expressive Activity.
After a press conference at CUNY Central a group of around one hundred people participated in march down 3rd Ave to Baruch College where a CUNY Board of Trustees meeting was being held. Prior to the Board meeting at 4pm, people from the participating groups spoke out to address the crowd.
Following some music, courtesy of Rude Mechanical Orchestra, as the light faded away and the air became colder everyone said their goodbyes and eventaully went home. It might seem like the months of planning meetings and coordination that happened among the people standing outside Baruch College that day resulted in just a relatively quiet day of protest, but that’s not quite what happened.
What is happening is that the student movement in New York City is growing stronger; and the attacks on students and liberated spaces within CUNY reveal an increasing desperation on the part of the Board of Trustees to quell dissent. The CUNY Policy on Expressive Activity is clearly a preemptive attack on student’s right to freedom of assembly and expression ahead of what the Board of Trustees knows will be a time of increasing student resistance.
Five years in to an economic crisis, with no end in sight, it has never been more clear how important it is to defend New York’s public systems of higher education from creeping corporate influence and the corruption of those in power. The March of the BoT may have only been a public demonstration of maybe two hundred people, but it’s purpose wasn’t to gather a large crowd. What the students and other folks gathered there that day meant to do was to send a message to the Board of Trustees meeting nearby. A message that there is an entire community around CUNY made up of students, faculty, and the public that all have a vested interest in CUNY - and the people in that community are prepared to defend themselves.
CUNY students, Professional Staff Congress, and Transit Workers Union to Hold Press Conference, March, and Rally at CUNY Board of Trustees Meeting
MEDIA ADVISORY for November 25, 2013
CONTACT: Biola Jeje, 347.681.5923
New York, NY - City University of New York students, Professional Staff Congress, and Transit Workers Union are planning a day of action on Monday, November 25th, against the CUNY administration’s undemocratic policies that stifle dissent, foster militarism, and narrow educational access to the people of New York. The day of action will include a 1:30pm press conference outside CUNY Central Offices, then a 2pm march to Baruch College, followed by a 3pm rally with music outside Baruch’s Vertical Campus Building, inside which the CUNY Board of Trustees will hold a 4pm business meeting.
This day of action—”March on the CUNY Machine”—will continue the Fall 2013 semester’s resistance to militarism and the repression of student dissent, most recently demonstrated by CUNY’s undemocratic seizure of the Morales/Shakur Community Center at City College, and the suspension and jailing of students exercising their right to free speech and assembly. Students call for the restoration of the Center, and an end to the increasing encroachment of the U.S. military in CUNY by the hiring of former CIA Director and Military Officer David Petraeus, and the return of Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).
“CUNY has been grossly exercising their power with the jailing of two students, the police brutality against student protestors, barring students from speaking events due to their political activity, and the new ‘Expressive Conduct Policy’,” said Alyssia Osorio, Director of the Morales Shakur Center, President of Students for Educational Rights, and student at CCNY. ”Student activism, leadership, and community building is under attack, and it’s directly affecting the marginalized communities these students serve. We need the students, faculty, alumni, and community to rise to the occasion and stand up for what’s right.”
This event is being coordinated by CUNY students and faculty in New York Students Rising, Free University, Students for Educational Rights, StudentBlocNYC, CUNY Divest, and more.
Follow the action on Twitter at these hashtags: #marchontheBoT #smashtheBoT #CUNYmachine
Schedule of events:
1:30pm: Press Conference in front of CUNY Central Offices, 205 E 42nd Street.
2:00pm: March to Baruch College Vertical Campus Building, 55 Lexington Avenue.
3:30: Rally outside Baruch during CUNY Board of Trustees meeting.
This Week: New York Students Rising Launches Statewide Week of Action !
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 18th, 2013
SUNY: Cody Hill - email@example.com
CUNY: Evangeline Byars - firstname.lastname@example.org
From repression of dissent on campus to rising student debt, students are fighting back!
New York Students Rising, a statewide coalition of student organizations dedicated to defending public higher education is launching a week of action from November 18th to the 22nd, culminating with an action outside the CUNY Board of Trustees Meeting next Monday, November 25th.
Students organized this week in order to draw attention to the crisis higher education and to build momentum for the CUNY Board of Trustees Meeting on November 25th. That day, students plan to hold a wedding outside of the meeting, highlighting how the CUNY administration has romantically courted militarism and an end to free expression on CUNY campuses via the implementation of former CIA director David Petraeus, and the illegal closure of the Morales Shakur Center at City College of New York on October 20th.
SUNY New Paltz, City College of New York, Medgar Evers College, and Brooklyn College are all taking part by holding teach-ins on student debt, sharing the history of the Morales Shakur Center, among other events, highlighting how interconnected these issues are within higher education.
Join the conversation online at by tweeting at #FreeEducationisNYSR and #FreeSpeechisNYSR on Twitter.
Calendar of Events:
Monday November 18th
12pm-2pm at City College: Wheel of Fortune Teach-in - Learn about the CUNY Board of Trustees and how they are directly involved with the recent attack on the Morales/Shakur Center.(Facebook event)
4pm at Baruch College (East 23rd Street, between Lexington Ave and 3rd Avenue): Board of Trustees Meeting.
5pm at City College, Shepard Hall: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will be speaking at CCNY. Our group will announce and deliver a letter to Sotomayor about the Morales/Shakur Center.
Brooklyn College Teach-In on Student Debt:(Facebook event)
Medgar Evers College Teach-In on Student Debt: (Facebook event)
Wednesday, November 20th, 12-2pm in Shepard Hall, room 157: Student and Community Teach-In - Come learn why we defend the Morales/Shakur Community and Student Center. (Facebook event)
Thursday, November 21st
12-2pm, NAC Rotunda: Welcome to the Morales/Shakur Center Study-in - Join us as we open a study space in the Rotunda for the Morales/Shakur Center. (Facebook event)
Thursday, November 21st- “Wheel of Outrage” at Brooklyn College: (Facebook Event)
Friday, November 22nd
New Paltz :Are You Chained with Student Debt?We will be constructing a chain of debt on the Humanities Concourse to show how our debt connects us.
Saturday, November 23rd
CUNY Trustees Meeting Dress Rehearsal : Join students, faculty, and community members Saturday at the PSC office for a day of planning for the CUNY Trustees Wedding on November 25th. We will need all hands on deck and a great deal of artistic skill in making this day as colorful and theatrical as possible.
Monday November 25th, 12pm: CUNY-wide Walk Out! - We call on all CUNY students to WALKOUT to fight back against student rights to free speech and the takeover of the Morales/Shakur Center. (Facebook event)
The State University of New York is losing almost $13 million each month operating Long Island College Hospital, the organization’s chief financial officer said today…“This could lead to a tuition increase,” he said. “I want to make it clear that programs and services could go away and [people] will spend more on tuition to keep hospitals open in Brooklyn.”
We the students, faculty, staff, and community of the State University of New York and the City University of New York demand that our legislators, members of the board of trustees, and college administration to support and implement a tuition freeze, effective next year.
While NY/SUNY 2020 implemented a “rational tuition plan” for a $300 per year increase until 2015, this decision did not take into account that the core mission of CUNY was to “educate the whole people”. Years of budget cuts and tuition hikes have only priced out SUNY and CUNY for so many New Yorkers just as other needs become more and more expensive, such as rent and transportation. Compounded with this, students all over New York State and the country are dealing with growing amounts of student debt, crippling many households dealing with other costs such as housing and healthcare.
We cannot allow our academic institutions to become gentrified even as our neighborhoods are. As a state, we must push for a public education system that is more diverse and accessible, because as New Yorkers we all deserve the right to a quality college degree that is in no way prohibited by cost. With SUNY and CUNY serving so much of the New York State population, it is integral that we preserve the accessibility of these institutions as much as possible.
New York must begin to take leadership in college affordability, and the first step is now. Education is a right.
Concerned residents of New York State
Members of the Graduate Student Employees Union/CWA 1104 (GSEU) and Adjuncts Instructors from the United University Professions (UUP) joined forces on Halloween for a Grade-In to raise awareness around their low wages and often unmanageable class sizes. GSEU & UUP members showed up to grade papers, review research and prep for their classes—all in an effort to remind President Jones and the entire SUNY Albany administration that Contingent Labor—Graduate & Teaching Assistant, as well as Adjunct labor, are essential to the function of our universities because contingent labor makes up about 39% of all credits taught at SUNY Albany.
"I am a GA teaching 120 students right now and I did the math, my stipend pays me $60 per student for the entire semester. Doesn’t the University at Albany administration think our students are worth more than that?" said Nicole D’Anna, GSEU Chief Steward & 4th year PhD student in Sociology
Contingent labor often teaches the foundational courses across departments, making them the first contact for undergraduates entering SUNY Albany, but they are compensated so poorly many take on second jobs.
Vincent Commisso, a Political Science adjunct in the process of writing his dissertation offered his experience of working at a nearby cafe while teaching, “I get paid more to make sandwiches for my students than I do to teach them in a college course. Our universities are broken.”When most folks think of university education, poverty-level wages for campus educators and support staff don’t come to mind but that’s what thousands of GTAs and Adjuncts are facing in the SUNY system. The average pay per course is $2,800 for adjuncts and around $13,000 per year for GTAs. The Self-Sufficiency Wage for 1 adult in Albany County is around $22,000.The event ran for 3 hours and the dozen or so folks who showed up during the first 30 minutes had taught nearly 3,000 students total in their time at SUNY Albany.
Why I got Arrested
- Angelica Clarke, New York Students Rising
As part of New York Students Rising, I fight for public higher education justice, which is inextricably linked to the fight to immigration reform because undocumented students have little-to-no access to aid and are often forced to choose between continuing their education or rejoining their family. I risked arrest because the pendulum in this country can swing closer to justice if we acknowledge the connections between our struggles. All undocumented people should be able to come out of the shadows and have the opportunity to receive an education that prepares them for a more democratic future that I am standing up for—a future with a path to citizenship for all 11 million aspiring Americans.
Angelica Clarke, arrested after blocking traffic outside of Varick St. Detention Center on Tuesday, October 29th.