BC Students Attend “Higher Education Action Day” at State Capitol

CUNY students attend "Higher Education Action Day" on Feb. 28./Courtesy of Damien Andrade

By Kate Dempsey 

 

   Brooklyn College students, as part of the New York Public Interest Group (NYPIRG), University Student Senate (USS), Professional Staff Congress (PSC) CUNY, and more, attended “Higher Education Action Day” at the New York State Capitol on Feb. 28. 

   The advocacy day centered on calling for  more resources for universities, which advocates say must come without an additional financial cost to students. Among the goals was advocating for the passing of the New Deal for CUNY and increasing financial aid support for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).

   “The primary goal for participating was to advocate for increased state support for higher education. We’re demanding more accessible, affordable, and high-quality college education for all students,” Sofia Maryiamis, a board member of NYPIRG and a junior at BC, said. “This includes pushing for policies that lower tuition fees, provide more financial aid options, and ensure that our educational institutions receive the funding they need to offer top-tier education without placing the financial burden on students.”

   At the Capitol, students met with state legislators and held a rally to raise awareness for their cause. Advocates made sure that their voices were heard in order to bring representation on behalf of the larger CUNY student body.

   “We wanted to show students from each campuses that we don’t mess around when it comes to higher education funding, and wanted to make sure students have a chance to be heard about issues around higher education,” Damien Andrade, Brooklyn Chapter president of NYPIRG and chairperson for the state-wide board of directors, told The Vanguard.

   The advocacy comes at a time whenGovernor Kathy outlined a $528 million cut for CUNY schools in her 2025 fiscal year budget plan, as previously reported by The Vanguard. Even as potential divestments continue, advocates say that it is necessary to continue discussions with state leaders in order to demonstrate the importance of higher education.

   “Higher Education Action Day is all about making sure that the people in charge have heard what the students and faculty want and need,” said Noam Abrahams, treasurer of BC’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG). “We always hear people in state government talking about how education is a right, and while recent investments from Albany have helped, it hasn’t been enough to overcome the years of divestment.”

   Student advocates stressed that their work does not stop at Higher Education Action Day, that they will continue to support efforts until higher education is accessible to all.

   “The fight for affordable, high-quality education doesn’t end with Higher Education Action Day. It’s an ongoing effort that requires sustained attention and advocacy. We encourage everyone to stay informed, reach out to their representatives, and support initiatives aimed at making higher education accessible to all,” said Maryiamis. “It’s only through collective action that we can bring about meaningful change and ensure that future generations have the opportunities they deserve to succeed and thrive.

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