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Making Ends Meet

The City University of New York is a system of colleges and universities that advocates for low-cost higher education compared to private colleges and universities. With the ever-known fact that a well off university costs much more than a community college, CUNY schools find the median between the two by supplying a substantial standard of education all for a seemingly affordable cost. Amongst the CUNY schools, there are schools that are more prestigious than others. The City College of New York is rated amongst the highest of CUNY schools while CUNY LaGuardia Community College is rated the lowest (U.S. News Education). The difference in tuition costs can also be attributed to the type of education a student can receive when going to either one. CCNY is a 4-year college that has a higher cost of tuition than LaGuardia Community College. Students who may not have the financial resources to attend a 4-year school such as CCNY would have to settle for the tuition of a community college, which would not mean the same education as a 4-year school would entail. The need to balance out the price of a sufficient education is what concerns many students who choose to apply to CUNY.

CUNY was founded as an educational institution by Townsend Harris in 1847 (CUNY Newswire). Since then, CUNY had evolved from a single school to a collection of several schools that stretched the whole City of New York (CUNY Newswire). A growing rate of immigrants in the city paved the way for a growing effort to increase the size of the student body, to accommodate the increasing population. For the first time in New York City, race became an integral part in determining social policies. The increase of the Hispanic, Asian, European, and Black immigrants forced CUNY to adopt a progressive standard in terms of admissions.

In 1969, CUNY was the center of mass protest by the Black and Puerto Rican students that forced school administrators to recognize a new policy of open admissions (The History of the City College of New York). The policy of open admissions racially transformed CUNY into a multi-ethnical school system. Low income families that immigrated to the USA now had a school system that was available to them at a low cost. Never faced with this challenge before, CUNY showed great effort and build in order to accommodate such a drastic change.

For those who could not afford to attend higher education, the Tuition Assistance Program was created to provide financial help. It is money set aside by the New York State government that aims to alleviate the financial burden of low income families. Basically, the lower one makes, the more federal financial aid is given. The TAP initiative helped many would-be students apply to CUNY schools without having the financial burden of going to a higher education in their minds.

However, even with financial assistance such as TAP, college can still pose as an obstacle for many (CUNY Newswire). The desire of attending a low cost school appeals to many families as it would not financially deprive of them of much money is a growing problem. Low cost schools are also synonymous with 2-year schools that do not offer a prestigious degree as a 4-year school might. This would ultimately be worse for the student in the future, as higher grossing jobs would require a higher degree such as a bachelor's which would insinuate the student's need to return back to school. Therefore, it is essential to upgrade the lower costing schools to increase their potential in terms of education and teaching. There is a need for a balance of prestige with cost when it comes to a city-wide school system such as CUNY.

In all, CUNY has done a well enough job in making available an affordable higher education to anyone who wants to receive a degree. Federal programs such as TAP are tasked to alleviate the financial tuition cost in accordance to income. It is up to the City to raise the standard of low-cost schools to bring them up to a higher level of instruction that would provide better education for the same cost. CUNY has shown that it is a school system that adopts with change and grows to accommodate any obstacle that it may face.

"1969 Open Admission Strike." THE HISTORY OF THE CITY COLLEGE OF NEW YORK: 1969- 1999. N.p., n.d. Web.

"THE BIRTH OF A MODERN UNIVERSITY." CUNY Newswire, 16 Sept. 2011. Web.

"Top Public Schools Regional Universities (North)." U.S. News Education. U.S. News, n.d. Web.


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