CUNY Chancellor Re-imagines Funding Possibilities
Matthew Goldstein, the chancellor of the City University of New York, spoke at the Harvard Club recently, emphasizing that public higher education is in crisis mode because of budget deficits, and administrators have to be creative when they look for ways to continue their mission of educating the public.
Goldstein lamented the $241 million in budget cuts to CUNY, giving the backdrop that New York is not the only state to have to make similar cuts in this time of economic crisis: In 2008, 43 states either cut funding or raised tuition for their public higher-education institutions. This is especially taxing for CUNY, since 80 percent of the nation’s high school students attend a public college or university.
“This is a time when we need more college graduates, educated to higher levels. Instead, we’re losing ground,” he said. “This is nothing less a national security issue.”
Goldstein acknowledged the accomplishments of Zujaja Tauqeer, a Brooklyn College student who was awarded one of 32 Rhodes Scholarships this year. She is part of the Macaulay Honors College and Coordinated B.A.-M.D. Program, a combined degree program that prepares students for medical studies at Downstate College of Medicine of the State University of New York.
The United States ranks 20th in the high school completion rate among industrialized nations and 16th in the college completion rate. The ranking is even lower for those who graduate with degrees in science and math.
Goldstein said that it was imperative for CUNY to address the issue of how to educate our country’s citizens without public support. He said that when he was president of Baruch, he realized he needed to spend more time raising private money instead of “walking the halls in Albany.” Today philanthropic donations to the university are $200 million annually.
The chancellor explained that philanthropy will be just one facet of a multi-angle approach to financing. The CUNY Compact, he said, is a funding model that will include public-private partnerships in fields such as real estate and e-textbook publishing.
“We cannot gamble with the talent that will drive New York’s competitiveness in the decades ahead. It’s the most important investment we can make in New York’s future,” he said. #