Counties Commend Community College Commitment
At a time when community colleges are more important than ever to providing quality affordable education and training, county leaders applaud the state's fiscal commitment to these institutions.
Community colleges had requested an increase of $250 per full time equivalent (FTE), an amount that would have been a projected year-to-year increase of $22.7 million (+4.8%). While the final budget does not achieve this total increase, the enacted budget boosts funding for SUNY and CUNY community colleges with an additional $20 million, increasing the FTE funding for the state's community colleges by $100 and making the base aid $2,697 per FTE for 2016-17.
"In February of 2015, I testified before the state legislature urging the state to continue to invest in our community colleges. I am pleased to see the final state budget included nearly $20 million in additional tuition aid, another in a series of steps toward the state providing funding at the level required in state law," said Kathleen Jimino, Rensselaer County Executive.
In New York State, 42 counties directly sponsor community colleges in either the City University of New York (CUNY) or State University of New York (SUNY) systems. Community colleges in New York State are funded through a three-way partnership: the state, the student, and the sponsor county. Traditionally, this was intended to be an equal partnership. That funding formula has shifted considerably since the 1970s. Today's students fund 43 percent of community college operations while the state picks up less than 25 percent of those costs.
"I commend the Governor and the State Legislature for this investment in our students and our communities. As college sponsors, county governments have a strong partnership and desire to see the colleges succeed. Towards this end, we look forward to continuing to work with the SUNY, the Governor and the State Legislature to support New York's community colleges," Jimino said.
"The increase in full time equivalent (FTE) funding by the State represents a continuum of state support towards students enrolled in our community college system," said New York State Association of Counties Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario. "Community College enrollment has declined in certain areas of the state post-recession, while health insurance and other college operating costs have risen. This targeted relief will help offset tuition costs and will enable hard working students to continue towards a path of higher education and employment."
The New York State Association of Counties is a bipartisan municipal association serving the counties of New York State. Organized in 1925, NYSAC's mission is to represent, educate and advocate for member counties. www.nysac.org