Brooklyn College announced today that it is taking steps to ensure an education of superior quality remains accessible to current and future students as tuition costs rise across the City University of New York. Yesterday, CUNY announced that tuition at all of its campuses will increase by $300 annually for the next four years in order to make up in part for reductions in public funding over the past several years.

At Brooklyn College, scholarships, financial aid and other forms of assistance enable more than half of its undergraduate population to attend college without paying any out-of-pocket tuition costs or incurring student loan debt. This is consistent with the college’s long-standing commitment to providing an excellent education at an affordable price.

For the 2010–11 academic year, the most recent for which data are available, Brooklyn College awarded students $31 million in federal Pell grants and $14.5 million in awards from the state’s tuition assistance program (TAP) — a total of more than $45 million. These financial aid packages covered all tuition costs for more than 5,000 students. Another 1,000 students received TAP and Pell awards that funded at least half of their tuition and were eligible for a federal tax credit to cover the balance. In all, the full cost of tuition was covered for nearly 60 percent of undergraduate students enrolled at Brooklyn College during the 2010–11 academic year.

Despite increases in tuition, students who qualify for the maximum TAP award will not be held responsible for additional tuition costs. For these students, Brooklyn College will cover any tuition that is not covered by TAP funding. Students who receive a partial TAP award will receive a partial tuition credit.

In addition to federal and state financial aid programs, Brooklyn College continues to raise funds from alumni and friends of the college to support student scholarships. During the 2010–11 academic year, the college awarded $1.4 million in scholarships to 1,229 students. The college’s fundraising program has grown substantially in recent years, a trend that is expected to continue. Additional funds raised from private donors will enable the college to expand scholarship opportunities available to students enrolling for the 2012–13 academic year.

For students whose tuition is not covered by grants, scholarships and other forms of assistance, Brooklyn College remains a high-value institution from which to earn a degree. Tuition at Brooklyn College is lower than 80 percent of the nation’s public colleges and universities. Furthermore, students from Brooklyn College are less likely to take out student loans than those at other universities in the state; those who do borrow owe 40 percent less upon graduation.

Modest, predictable tuition increases over the next four years will enable students and their families to plan ahead rather than face unexpectedly large spikes in tuition rates when they can least afford it. The state of New York has committed to maintaining its current levels of funding for CUNY over this same four-year period. These steps were necessary in order to maintain the quality of academic programs in light of significant budget reductions over recent years.

From its founding in 1930 until 1976, Brooklyn College received 100 percent of its funding from public sources. Today, the state funds only 21 percent of the college’s operating budget; the remainder is funded by tuition revenue. Since 2010, the college’s base budget has been reduced by $7.9 million, and its state allocation has decreased by one third. Despite challenging economic realities, Brooklyn College is succeeding where it matters most. Enrollment is on the rise; freshman-to-sophomore retention rates have increased by 5 percent since 2007; and more students are obtaining degrees than ever before.