If you don’t pay, you don’t get to play.
In college, if you have an unpaid balance on your account, the bursar and registrar offices collaborate to block from you from registering for the next semester, you get dropped from your classes, or you won’t be awarded your degree.
This past year has been very difficult for a lot of people because of the pandemic, including some of my students. Some have been infected with COVID-19, some have lost family members, some have lost a job or two (as I did), and others have suffered in other ways that I can’t even imagine. It stands to reason that some students would have fallen behind in paying their college bills.
As part of the last spring’s CARES relief packages, the federal government dispersed funds for colleges and universities, including providing aid for students who might need support.
While CUNY did offer students some support, including providing them with iPads so they could do remote learning, the university has implemented two austerity measures that hurt students:
- Students with balances due were purged from their Spring 2021 classes.
- CUNY has raised the minimum number of students needed for a class to run, meaning it has reduced the number of classes available for students to take.
The first action causes all kinds of troubles. One Media Studies professor in shared the story of a student who was dropped from their classes and might have their student visa cancelled, which would put the student at risk for deportation. CUNY is cheap so it’s unlikely that the student owes tens of thousands of dollars.
The second action makes it harder for students to graduate in four years. The university has touted its Finish in Four program that largely depends on students taking classes during winter and spring semesters. At Queens College, the college cancelled all of the Media Studies classes this winter semester classes, setting back many students’ progress for finishing their degrees.
The administration just sent around an email proclaiming that CUNY fights for its students. Given how it has shut out students from registering for classes and cutting the number of classes available for them to take, the words ring hollow.
Take action and sign this petition pressuring CUNY to use federal stimulus funds to keep classes open and remove bursar holds on students accounts.