BYMC staff testified yesterday at NYC City Council Finance and Higher Education joint committee meeting to address the proposed budget cuts for CUNY. Below is the testimony.
Testimony of Hannah Wohl
Policy Fellow, Brooklyn Young Mothers’ Collective
New York City Council, Committee on Higher Education
Monday, December 13th, 2010, 1:00 PM
Making CUNY Accessible to Pregnant and Parenting Students
Support services are especially important for pregnant and parenting students attending CUNY. Counseling and tutoring are crucial supports for pregnant and parenting students because, these services ease the burden of these students’ competing needs as both parents and students, allowing them to better focus on their academics. Additionally, young mothers need campus-based affordable and accessible childcare in order for them to be able to attend class. Currently, some CUNY school are not offering full-day childcare, or do not offer childcare for young children. In order for all young mothers to be able to regularly attend class, each CUNY school should offer full-day, comprehensive childcare. Unfortunately, instead of making childcare services more robust, CUNY has reduced funding for child care. Additionally, young mothers may be unsure of the process of applying for childcare. Each CUNY school should have support staff who walk students through the complex process of obtaining childcare. Additionally, she may have other unmet needs, such as housing, healthcare, and public assistance, which may be interfering with her coursework. CUNY should be equipped to refer students to relevant services. In recognition of students’ specialized needs, CUNY should maintain counseling and tutoring and strengthen childcare services and referral networks to social support services. Cutting, instead of fortifying these services will have devastating consequences for the academic achievement of pregnant and parenting students.