Mayor’s FY25 Executive Budget failed to include restorations to cuts that impacted school programming and students

City Hall, NY – Ahead of the City Council’s Executive Budget hearing by the Committee on Higher Education and the Committee on Finance, the Council called for funding restorations and deeper investments to the City University of New York (CUNY). Specifically, the Council urged funding for critical initiatives that support academic guidance, provide career development, and address workforce shortages.

Budget cuts have impacted CUNY campuses at a time when they can least afford it, threatening to undermine its programs, students, faculty, counselors, and support staff. As CUNY works to recover enrollment following a dip during the pandemic, the City must provide enhanced funding to strengthen the university system.

The Council is calling for a restoration of the $40 million in cuts to CUNY programs from the Mayor’s 2023 November Plan and Fiscal Year 2025 Preliminary Budget, along with additional investments to ensure long-term stability of the higher education programs. These budget priorities were outlined by the Council in its Preliminary Budget Response released in April, but were left out of the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2025 Executive Budget. The additional CUNY programs include:

CUNY Reconnect

The Council has called for a restoration of the $5.8 in current funding to CUNY Reconnect and an enhancement of $2.9 million for a total of $8.7 million. The program was established by Speaker Adams and the Council, in partnership with CUNY, to assist working-age New Yorkers who left school without their degrees return to graduate and advance their earning potential. It has already helped over 33,000 students re-enroll in CUNY colleges, the majority of whom are women and people of color, helping them overcome barriers to their success and unlock new opportunities. 


The Council has called for the $9.1 million restoration to CUNY ACE, an academic support program to help students complete their degree on time, including first-time freshmen and transfer students who enter with an associate degree. In recent years, the transfer student two-year graduation rate has increased by 30 percent. 


The Council has called for the Administration to restore and baseline $5 million for CUNY ASAP, which provides extensive support for associate degree students with financial resources, academic guidance and career development.

CUNY Cultural Corps

The Council has called for the restoration and baselining of $650,000 for CUNY Cultural Corps, which helps address the lack of diversity in the city’s cultural sector by providing students with experiential learning and professional development in the sector. 

CUNY Computing Integrated Teacher Education (CITE)

The Council has called for $564,000 to restore funding for CUNY Computing Integrated Teacher Education (CITE) to sustain the pilot initiative that works to cultivate the next generation of public-school teachers as champions of equitable computing education that integrate computing and digital literacies into classrooms. 

DC 37 Employment Initiative 

The Council has called for $50.5 million in funding to establish a new employment initiative, in partnership with DC 37, to provide a career advancement pathway for CUNY students to secure municipal jobs and seasonal employment opportunities for underemployed New Yorkers. Speaker Adams proposed the two-tiered initiative in her State of the City Address. The first track would create a pathway from CUNY programs, like CUNY Reconnect, to careers in city government, prioritizing access for working New Yorkers to attain improved employment opportunities with the City to fill key vacant positions through civil service exam prep, subsidized exam fees, and other support. The second track would help underemployed communities and populations to enter the workforce initially through seasonal positions at city agencies to build work experience that increases their overall employment prospects.

CUNY Social Work Fellows program

The Council has called for $2 million in funding to establish a CUNY Social Work Fellows program, modeled after the NYC Teaching Fellows, to help increase the number of social workers and address the mental health workforce shortage. The program would support scholarship opportunities for social work master’s degree students, offering graduates a pipeline into our city’s mental health workforce.   

Computing across the Curriculum Micro-Credential

The Council has called for $800,000 to support a Computing across the Curriculum Micro-Credential to ensure that more DOE teachers have the skills and experience needed to build computational thinking into their practice of teaching. This would help ensure that every young person, particularly Black and Latina girls, can build confidence in computing from an early age.

Title VI Coordinators

The Council has called for the inclusion of $2.3 million in the budget to hire 20 Title VI coordinators at CUNY to address a rising number of incidents of bias and hate, including on college campuses, in New York City to ensure nondiscriminatory environments. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides protections against discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in any institution or program that receives federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education.

“CUNY is a major engine of opportunity and a key pathway for economic mobility, especially for New Yorkers in communities of color and immigrant communities,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams[CC1] . “These vital public institutions offer a guaranteed return on public investment, contributing significantly to the economic strength of our city and state. Now is the time for the City to maintain and strengthen funding for CUNY’s essential programming and staff. The long-term health of our city’s economy and the success of all New Yorkers relies on the Administration agreeing to restore its funding cuts and make deeper investments that will help sustain our public university system.”

“CUNY is instrumental in raising the city’s next generation of leaders and community advocates,” said Council Member Eric Dinowitz, Chair of the Committee on Higher Education. “It is imperative that we give it the funding necessary to make a world-class education accessible to all students so that they may pursue their dreams, regardless of class, ethnicity, race, gender, or background. Programs such as CUNY ACE, which helps first-time freshmen and transfer students complete their degrees on time, and CUNY Reconnect, which allows for working-age New Yorkers who left school without their degrees to return to graduate, are crucial in furthering our students’ education. CUNY makes it possible for students from underserved communities to pursue the impossible. We must invest in our students, not divest from our futures by cutting over $100 million from CUNY. We have seen firsthand how CUNY can mobilize entire communities, raise earning potentials, and connect students with hubs of opportunity, thereby advancing our city’s economic and cultural prosperity overall. To cut millions from CUNY would be to structurally impair a vehicle of advancement for New Yorkers and the city in which we live.”

“Every dollar invested in CUNY gives back about $15 to New York’s long-term economic prospects,” said Council Member Justin Brannan, Chair of the Committee on Finance. “That’s why cuts to CUNY have radial negative impact. CUNY has made higher education accessible to New Yorkers of all backgrounds and has been a true stepping stone to the middle class, success, and prosperity. CUNY should be able to serve more students at a lower cost, which can only happen with greater government investment. I believe now is the time to double down on our public higher education system not cut.”

“Since this Mayor came into office, CUNY colleges have cut courses, enacted hiring freezes, increased enrollment caps on classes, and laid off PSC members in adjunct and full-time contingent titles,” said James Davis, President of PSC-CUNY. “Mayor Adams’ cuts total over $94 million. We must dig CUNY out of this hole by backfilling that $94 million and supporting programs that work. CUNY Reconnect is proven to bring more students back to campus; ASAP for All leverages a nationally-modeled program to give more students the dedicated advisors and services that they need to stay in school; free MetroCards prevent students from having to choose between food and getting to class. CUNY changes the lives in our City’s most at-risk communities, but it can’t do it alone. Budgets are moral documents. It’s time to stand up for CUNY and its students.”