WRI Invites you to Know Your Rights!

Welfare Rights Initiative Invites you to


WHY: CUNY has lost over 21,000 students due to counterproductive welfare policy. We cannot lose one more!

WHAT: Provisions of the Work Study/Internship Law, TAG Program, WEP (workfare) and the Fair Hearing Process.

WHEN/WHERE: Wednesday, June 26th Hunter College, East Building, 14th floor, Solarium Room 1413 (1:30pm-3:00pm)

If you are a student who needs more information on your rights or you would like to schedule an appointment, please call our:

Know Your Rights Line: 212-650-3592


Hunter College, TH 207

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Come Celebrate Our 18th Annual Gala: ­Inspire Lives of Leadership.

Come Celebrate Our Students at the Welfare Rights Initiative’s
18th Annual Gala: ­Inspire Lives of Leadership.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Hunter College West, 8th Floor Faculty Dining Room

Join us in honoring special guests:

Lynn Lewis & Professor Thomas Angotti
Picture the Homeless and Hunter College Center For Community Planning & Development (CCPD);
Beatrice Lopez-Tucker
WRI Alum & Former Co-Director
Michelle Rivera
WRI Alum & Former Administrative Coordinator
Irma V. Williams
WRI Alum & MSW Citiwide Harm Reduction; and
WRI Cohort 18 Students
Graduates of the Fall 2012-Spring 2013 Community Leadership Program.

Won’t you please join us to help inspire more lives of leadership?
There are several meaningful ways to show your support:

Sponsorship Levels

WRI Visionary Society $10,000 or more
·   Reserved Table for 10 at the WRI Annual Gala.
·   Sponsor Acknowledgment: Gala Program, Ceremony, Press Materials and Website.
·   Opportunity to present a Community Leadership Award at the WRI Annual Gala.
·   Framed and personalized original artwork by WRI students.

WRI Leadership Circle  $5,000 to $9,999
·   Reserved Table for 10 at the WRI Annual Gala.
·   Sponsor Acknowledgment: Gala Program, Ceremony, Press Materials and Website.

WRI Patrons   $1,000 to $4,999
·   10 tickets to the WRI Annual Gala.
·   Sponsor Acknowledgment: Gala Program and Website.

WRI Advocates  $500 to $999
·   8 tickets to the WRI Annual Gala.
·   Listing in the Gala Program.

WRI Friends    $100 to $499
·   4 tickets to the WRI Annual Gala.
·   Listing in the Gala Program.
WRI General Admission   $50
(WRI Alum Suggested Admission $25)
·   1 ticket to the WRI Annual Gala.

WRI is a nonprofit, student activist and leadership training organization located at Hunter College. For more information about Gala and other
sponsorship opportunities, please contact
Dillonna C. Lewis at 212-650-3569 (illewis@hunter.cuny.edu) for more information.

Help inspire more lives of leadership, support WRI’s 18th Annual Gala honoring: Lynn Lewis and Professor Thomas Angotti, Picture the Homeless, Hunter College Center for Community Planning & Development (CCPD); WRI alumni Beatrice Lopez-Tucker, Michelle Rivera, and Irma V. Williams; and Cohort 18 Community Leadership Students. Come and celebrate with us on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 from 6:30pm-9pm in Hunter College Faculty Dining Room, 8th floor west building. For more information, please contact

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WRI Student Leaders Go to Albany

Student Leaders Go to Albany
to Make Education Count

On February 27, 2013, Welfare Rights Initiative students brought their determination and personal stories to Albany to remind state policy makers that nothing should deter a person from seeking a quality education.

The focus of the trip was to draw attention to Senate Bill 1419, sponsored by Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn). This proposed legislation would allow baccalaureate and advanced degree programs to count towards work requirements for students receiving public assistance. The Assembly passed A.3473, the companion bill in early February 2013

Thirty WRI and CUNY Law students met with 20 of their New York State (NYS) legislative leaders. After an early morning bus trip from NYC, students arrived to have breakfast and speak to a gathering of over 200 groups representing NYS Empire State Economic Security Campaign (ES2). The day was full of energy and hope for NYS families receiving welfare: Make Education Count!

Each year, Welfare Rights Initiative assists hundreds of undergraduate students on public assistance who are working toward a better future. Reports show workfare programs don’t support long-term economic mobility because these assignments rarely lead to livable wage jobs.

To underscore this point, WRI called on Hunter College student and advocate Christina Chaise, to speak on behalf of young adults like her who face severe obstacles that compromise attempts to pursue higher education as the best way out of poverty. Christina shared her experiences with state legislators and the media:

“As a resident of public housing and a recipient of public assistance, I had internalized the stereotype society imposes upon the people of my community. Well, I am here today to shatter that perception and provide a true resolution that can address poverty: higher education.”

She went on to explain how New York State welfare policy allows two-year college students to count class time towards mandatory work hours, but not four-year college students.

“People enduring economic hardship shouldn’t have to choose between survival and a fighting chance at achieving financial freedom and security. Workers with bachelor’s degrees consistently earn more on the job, $200 more and higher a week, than those with associate’s degree.”

Christina presented other supporting data to accentuate her call for urgent policy change:

“Not only would this bill save administrative costs for the state, it will also expand opportunities for a better quality job and a better quality life for members of our communities. Nearly 90 percent of students receiving welfare who obtain a bachelor’s degree will move permanently off welfare and earn enough to move out of poverty.”

For more details about this recent Welfare Rights Initiative advocacy event, click to read coverage from the NYS Legislative Gazette or visit wri-ny.org.

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Applying for Financial Aid & Federal Work-Study

Financial Aid Info:

Approximately $90 billion in financial aid money is awarded to college students every year, and sixty-two percent of full-time college students receive financial aid or scholarships to help them pay for school (College Board). Even if you think you won’t qualify for aid, you should apply -it’s free. 

Types of Financial Assistance:

  • Grants – Money that doesn’t have to be repaid
  • Scholarships – Money that doesn’t have to be repaid and usually is awarded on the basis of academic merit
  • Loans – Money for school that you must repay with interest
  • Work-Study- Money earned from a job through your college financial aid office

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) must be completed by everyone who wants federal aid, and most financial aid programs require it. There is no charge for completing the FAFSA. It should be filled out online at www.fafsa.ed.gov as soon after January 1st as possible. The FAFSA form will automatically direct students to the New York State TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) application, which all students must also complete. Although the federal deadline for FAFSA is May 1st, most college deadlines are in February or March. Filing after a deadline will mean less money, so file on time!

Work-Study Questions:

How do I apply?

To be considered for this award, you must fill out your financial aid applications by an established filing deadline and request consideration for FWS by checking the appropriate box on the FAFSA. FWS money is awarded on a first-come, first served basis. The College receives a fixed amount of money each academic year to make FWS awards. Once this money is awarded, there is no more for that academic year. You are encouraged to file your financial aid applications early when you receive your award letter from the College, it will indicate whether or not you have been awarded FWS.

Am I paid an hourly wage or a salary?

You are paid by the hour, your rate of pay being determined by the job location and the nature of the work involved. You will receive at least $7.25 per hour for on-campus positions. The rate of pay can be higher for jobs off-campus but will be no lower than $7.25 per hour.

Are work-study earnings taxable?

The money you earn from Federal Work-Study is generally subject to federal and state income tax, but exempt from FICA taxes (provided you are enrolled full time and work less than half-time).

Federal Work-Study earnings during the calendar year should be included in the totals for AGI on the FAFSA. Work-study earnings should only be included when they represent financial aid to the student, since the answer to this question is used as an exclusion from taxed income. The student should also be careful to report amounts based on the calendar year, not the school year.

For information on financial aid and available scholarships contact the Financial Aid Office at the CUNY College you plan to attend.

General Information on CUNY admissions

212 997-CUNY(2869)


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From the Staff and Student Leaders at Welfare Rights Initiative!

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Sharing Our Gratitude

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Infomation from Sen. Gillibrand’s office

The federal government has authorized that every current SNAP recipient in the impacted areas/zip codes for the storm automatically will get 50% of October’s benefits placed on their cards.

FNS is authorizing the replacement of 50 percent of the October benefits for households in Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan and Westchester Counties and the 76 designated ZIP codes in New York City. We estimate the total benefit replacement amount to be approximately $65,000,000.

The feds also approved the state waiver to allow SNAP recipients that reside in areas that currently have individual assistance designations (i.e. Bronx, Kings, Richmond, Queens, New York, Nassau, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester) to have the ability to purchase hot foods and hot food products with SNAP benefits, and to consume them on-premise, where practical, through November 30, 2012.

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Fall 2012 Know Your Rights Trainings at Hunter College

Know Your Rights Trainings


October 24, 2012 and November 28, 2012



Hunter College

695 Park Ave

(6 train to 68th Street-Hunter College)

East Building, 14th floor, Room 1413

WRI’s monthly Know Your Rights Trainings at Hunter College cover:

*HRA’s call in process


*Notices of Intent

*Fair Hearings

*The Work-Study and Internship Law

*Helpful tips/strategies for self advocacy developed by and for students receiving public benefits

Visit WRI’s website: http://www.wri-ny.org or call the

Know Your Rights Hotline: 212-650-3592 for more information.


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Voter Awareness Month at CUNY

Voter Awareness Month begins Sept. 12 and ends October 12 – the last day that registration applications are accepted.

New York State primary elections are Sept. 13.

You can find out everything you need to know, including a how-to-guide, registration forms and information on the current election issues by visiting CUNY’s Voter Awareness Website.

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WRI’s 17th Annual Gala

The WELFARE RIGHTS INITIATIVE (WRI) 17th Annual Gala on Thursday, May 24, 2012 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. was a great success.  Over 150 people gathered at Hunter West Building 8th Floor Faculty Dining Room for an evening of inspiration and celebration.  WRI cohort 17, family, friends, supporters, colleagues and Hunter faculty and administration celebrated the success of our students, honorees and alums.
This year’s honorees were:
Kathy Goldmanlong-time community activist and Co-Director of Community Food Advocates;
Degna P. LevisterClinical Law Professor and Supervising Attorney of Economic Justice Clinic, City University of New York School of Law;
Stephen LoffredoProfessor of Law and Supervising Attorney of Economic Justice Clinic, City University of New York School of Law;
Yvonne L. MooreExecutive Director, Daphne Foundation;
Cohort 17, Graduates of WRI’s one-year Community Leadership Program Fall 2011-Spring 2012. Receiving the following awards:
Dorothy Epstein Award–Sophia Huda
Allard Lowenstein Award –Lizette Borreli, David Julian Guerrero and Sarah Pomar
The Child Welfare Fund Award–Ashley Adams, Prianka Ahmed, Charlotte Alvarez, Barbara Didick, Mary Hughes, Delicia Jones, Cherise Lashley, Benjamin Mujhammad, Tahima Salam and Audrey Zapata.

Each year, WRI assists hundreds of bright, ambitious, undergraduate students who are striving for a better future despite the daily challenges caused by financial instability.
Through academic courses, leadership training, legal assistance, policy education and advocacy, WRI’s participant-driven model builds essential skills and opens up personal advancement options for people receiving on public assistance. Our staff and interns also collaborate with other activists, legislators and community leaders to defend and promote fair and just policies that remove potential barriers to education.
We continue to celebrate the remarkable progress made by our student leaders at Hunter College and the WRI alumni who are strengthening the city’s workforce in social services, community organizing, public interest law, nursing, education and other disciplines across New York City and beyond. We are especially proud to report that many Leadership Program alums are now pursuing graduate studies.
Please connect to us and receive policy updates and information on upcoming events. Send an email to mlane@hunter.cuny.edu.
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