BROOKLYN, N.Y. (PIX11) — The City University of New York is the nation’s largest urban university with close to 243,000 degree-seeking students.

To many, it can be the gateway to the middle class. However, a proposed tuition hike by Gov. Kathy Hochul has some students up in arms. Students on Sunday held a rally and march in Brooklyn protesting the proposed tuition hike.

Demonstrators gathered on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall to demand that the final state budget increase funding for CUNY and reject Hochul’s proposed 3% tuition hikes for in-state SUNY and CUNY students.

“We want to return to tuition free, hire more full-time faculty and hire more academic counselors, career counselors and mental health counselors,” said State Sen. Andrew Gounardes, who chairs the Budget and Revenue Committee.

The governor’s 3% hike would mean some students would pay between $144 to $424 more for tuition next year. Some students said that would mean they would have to drop out.

“Being a student, we have to focus on studying,” said Monique Murray, a student at Lehman College. “I am a social work intern, so I have to work on my internship and classes … A 3% increase would mean a financial challenge for me. Can I finish school?”

Both the New York State Senate and the Assembly passed budget resolutions this past week that rejected tuition hikes proposed by the governor.

“The amount of money the tuition hike is intended to raise is findable in so many other ways in a $227 billion budget,” said James Davis, president of the Professional Staff Congress. “It doesn’t need to come out of students’ pockets.”

There are 12 days until the New York state budget will be decided, and the protesters say they are going to take their demonstration up to Albany.