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CUNY rallies demand full funding for programs for low-income students

The programs offer free tuition, textbooks, MetroCards and individual advising.

Student and community activists are planning a Citywide Day of Action on Wednesday to push CUNY to fully fund programs that help low-income students.

Campuses around the city are holding rallies throughout the day to petition for more funding for CUNY ASAP and ACE programs.

The programs offer free tuition, textbooks, MetroCards and individual advising. Activists said the programs will double graduation rates and save the city and state $6,500 per graduate.

“It costs extra per student but less per graduate,” said Fran Clark, communications coordinator for the Professional Staff Congress, the union representing faculty at CUNY.

“Investments in students at CUNY works. CUNY has been underfunded for years and CUNY students have barriers to their success that are put up by institutional racism and rising incoming inequality in our city,” he said.

CUNY’s Board of Trustees will consider a new budget next Monday and students and faculty hope funding will be on the agenda. The budget has to be approved by the governor and mayor.

City College junior Brianna Alvarado said eliminating the worry of transportation and books would help students succeed overall.

“College students shouldn’t have to worry about where the funds for tuition or textbooks come from,” said Alvarado, 19, head of the Free and Fully-Funded CUNY campaign.

She said the lack of funding hurts students’ futures in the long run.

“Education is something that is important to a lot of people, but they don’t always have access to resources to get an education. That inhibits people from starting their careers.”

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