Founded in 1847, City College of New York was the first free and public higher education institution in the United States. It's the oldest school in what is now the CUNY system. Today, CUNY is under attack from Mayor Adams’ reckless budget cuts, from Governor Hochul’s unfair tuition hikes, and from a fear-mongering campaign targeting public education and institutions of higher learning across the country. In response, New Yorkers are rising up together to fight for free, accessible, and fully-funded higher education. As part of the CUNY Rising Alliance coalition, JFREJ is fighting for a #NewDeal4CUNY.

Photo by Gili Getz


For too long, CUNY has achieved its mission on a shoestring budget. But the governor, the mayor, and their fiscally conservative lackeys keep pushing for decreased investment in public higher education. They will keep trying to hack away at CUNY until it becomes completely unrecognizable. We can't let that happen.

If CUNY were tuition-free, as it was for more than a century, its 270,000 students — a majority of whom are people of color — would have more than a billion dollars total in their pockets to pay rent and make ends meet while they pursue college degrees. New York can fund CUNY as it was funded just a few decades ago, rebuild its core services, and make CUNY tuition-free again.

Click here to learn more about the CUNY Rising Alliance.

Photo by Gili Getz

CUNY's Radical Jewish History

CUNY holds a special place in New York Jewish history for admitting Jewish students when many schools did not — and for providing a stellar education free of charge. For huge numbers of Jews who did not have access to wealth, CUNY was the doorway to class mobility. As #JewsForCUNY, we fight to ensure that this same doorway remain open today for all who wish to enter.

The current attacks on CUNY aren’t new. But New Yorkers rising up together to fight for free, accessible, and fully-funded higher education isn't new either. And Jews have always been part of this fight, with a large number of CUNY's student body in the early 20th Century — and many of CUNY’s teachers — made up of Jews from working-class, immigrant communities. These students and teachers, Jews and non-Jews alike, formed a hub of activism during the Great Depression. That activism continued through the 40s, the 60s, and all the decades that followed. It’s a history and ongoing legacy many JFREJ members are connected to.

Click here to learn more about CUNY's radical Jewish history!