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CUF Influences New York City’s FY2025 Budget

Impact - July 2024

CUF Influences New York City’s FY2025 Budget

New York City adopted its FY2025 budget, which includes includes several restorations and investments inspired by the Center for an Urban Future’s recent research and recommendations, including restoration of CUNY's budget and funding for key opportunity programs, establishing a human services-focused fellowship, restoring funding for adult literacy programs, including ESOL, and bolstering the capacity of CDFIs.

Tags: economic opportunity higher education cuny esol cdfi entrepreneurship human services

The City of New York just adopted its $112.4 billion budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2025. The budget includes several restorations and investments inspired by the Center for an Urban Future’s recent research, testimonies, and recommendations, including: 

Restorations to CUNY's Budget and Funding for Key Opportunity Programs

We are encouraged to see Mayor Adams and the City Council restore $64.2 million in funding for the City University of New York (CUNY), with specific funding allocated to support key college success programs that are delivering results for students and the city's economy.

The FY25 adopted budget fully funds the CUNY Reconnect program. CUNY Reconnect has helped more than 33,000 working-age adults with some college credits but no degree to re-enroll at CUNY, with more than 10 percent already obtaining degrees. The FY25 budget allocates $5.9 million to sustain this program—the highest level of funding to date. CUF's January 2022 report inspired Council Speaker Adrienne Adams to create the CUNY Reconnect program. During our November 2023 testimony before the Council's higher education committee, we recommended that “the City Council continue supporting CUNY Reconnect and work with the administration to renew funding in the upcoming budget.” Our March 2024 budget testimony reiterated the call to renew funding for this highly valuable program.

The budget also fully restores $10.1 million for the CUNY Accelerate, Complete, and Engage (ACE) program, which helps students at senior colleges complete their bachelor’s degrees on time. Our March 2023 report, Playing NYC's ACE Card, urged Mayor Adams and the City Council to expand economic mobility by investing in CUNY ACE, as did CUF's follow-up op-ed in amNewYork. Additionally, our testimony before the City Council in March and June called on city government to support and scale the CUNY ACE program. 

Establishing Human Services-Focused Fellowship

The city's FY25 budget allocates $500,000 in new funding for a CUNY Social Work Fellows program, echoing a key recommendation from a recent CUF report. In our May 2024 report Solving the Staffing Crisis Facing NYC’s Human Services Organizations, we urged the city to establish a "CUNY Human Services Fellowship" program as a key component of a new Pathways to Human Services Initiative, designed to build stronger pipelines from CUNY into human services careers and fill positions with high vacancies and turnover.

Restoring Funding for Adult Literacy Programs, Including ESOL

The adopted budget includes a $10 million funding restoration for adult literacy programs, which are the city's key funding source for English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) classes. CUF's September 2023 report, Preparing Today's Asylum Seekers to Be Tomorrow's Workforce, revealed unprecedented demand and lengthy waiting lists for ESOL classes and urged the city and state to invest in ESOL program capacity and hybrid ESOL-job training programs. In June, we testified before the Council that the city should “restore and baseline funding for adult literacy programs” to help “more of the newest New Yorkers on the path to economic self-sufficiency.” Our 2023 report found that “fewer than 4 percent of all adult New Yorkers who could benefit from literacy education are able to take classes each year.”

Bolstering the Capacity of CDFIs to Support More Underresourced Entrepreneurs

The City Council also allocated $1 million in new funding to support the operations of the city's community development financial institutions (CDFIs), enabling these crucial nonprofit lenders to serve more underresourced entrepreneurs. Our December 2022 report titled Bolstering Immigrant- and Minority-Owned Small Businesses by Scaling Up CDFIs argued that one of the most effective investments the city can make in strengthening underresourced small businesses is by "provid[ing] new resources to CDFIs, enabling them to scale up their operations, boost the number of businesses they help with financing and advising, and extend their reach into communities with the greatest needs."