Affordability Brainstorm Hits, Misses

Ideas proposed at President Hamilton’s public affordability discussion that took place earlier this month.

The Affordability Steering Committee at NYU launched an online platform in March to crowdsource ideas from the NYU community with the goal of increasing affordability at the university. Anyone can submit ideas, which are subsequently voted on by members of the NYU community. WSN dug through the 269 responses and took a look at the most and least popular ideas.

Best Ideas:

Cap Bloated Salaries at the Top — 294 upvotes

This idea is reiterated multiple times on the website. Adjunct professor Laura Noren suggests freezing administrator salaries at their levels in 2016, and reducing their retirement packages to reflect that of a tenured professor.


Graduate student Scott Wyman Neagle agrees with the idea and suggests freezing the salaries of overpaid administrators to 10 times that of the median faculty member, including adjunct professors and instructors.

“While this action alone may not do too much to lower tuition, it would be a vital step in changing the culture of NYU administration from that of a profit-driven real estate company to a university acting in the public interest,” Neagle said.

MTA Discount — 289 upvotes

Reduced fare subway and bus rides would benefit many NYU students, especially those who commute and spend upwards of $116.50 a month for a MetroCard. While the university offers shuttles between its Brooklyn and Manhattan campuses, they are not always the most timely option, which forces students to use the subway.

Though the MTA provides discounted MetroCards for K-12 students, they do not currently offer the same option for higher education students. CAS senior Alex Olea agrees that discounted transportation would help NYU be more affordable for students.

“As an NYC native, I feel that it’s necessary,” Olea said. “I grew up with a student MetroCard all through high school and it helped immensely. The stakes and costs are higher in college, so it would be a tremendous help to a lot of students.”

Stop Expanding  — 158 upvotes

Multiple ideas were pitched for the same general idea: NYU should stop expanding endlessly. Many students urged the administration to stop running NYU as if it were a real estate investment company. In addition, many feel that expanding further into New York City through the 2031 plan and building more global sites is obtrusive to the surrounding community and expensive for students.

Worst Ideas:

Increase Tuition Costs for Foreign Students to Subsidize Aid — 69 downvotes

NYU’s Washington Square campus attracts students from all over the world, but international students are often burdened by the cost of attendance as they do not qualify for federal financial aid.

Despite this fact, one student proposed to increase tuition for foreign students to alleviate costs for the domestic student community in order to increase diversity. Unsurprisingly, an affordability initiative to raise tuition for certain students wasn’t very popular.

Tenure — 35 downvotes

NYU hires both tenured and adjunct faculty. While the tenure track can offer professors some career stability, it can make removing unpopular professors difficult. Students currently submit evaluations of their professors and TAs each semester, but Camilla Oliva suggested that student input should be considered when tenuring professors.

Sell the Tandon School of Engineering — 17 downvotes

A submission by Kartika Upadhyaya proposed to sell the Tandon School of Engineering, seemingly because the university changed its name after it was given a $100 million donation last October. According to Upadhyaya, NYU doesn’t seem to have a strong attachment to the school as its students are kept in “isolation” and only look good from an admissions standpoint.    

There will be another brainstorming session available for the NYU community to contribute more ideas for making NYU more affordable. The session will be held on Tuesday, April 26 at 10 a.m. in Kimmel 914.

A version of this story appeared in the Monday, April 25 print issue. Email Camille Larkins at [email protected]



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