Association Calls For Increase In Community College Funds

The New York Association of Counties is calling for the state to increase its funding to community colleges.

“This was intended to be an equal partnership. However, the 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. We are asking the state to uphold their commitment to these educational systems,” said Charles Nesbitt, Orleans County chief administrative officer and state Association of Counties president.

Counties have raised concerns in recent years regarding the state’s funding commitment to community colleges. The state financing mechanism, linked to the number of full-time equivalent students on each campus, creates a roller coaster state funding impact for students and counties. In addition, over the last decade state support has fallen far short of the rate of inflation.

To alleviate the problem and stabilize the community college system, the SUNY Chancellor is proposing a new methodology that would create a state maintenance of effort for the funding of community college campuses.

The new formula would prevent cuts in base aid and create a state funding floor for each campus. In addition, the chancellor is calling for an increase in state funding for full time equivalent students by $125, from $2,847 to $2,972 per student. New York’s counties support the Chancellor’s proposal, as well as the community college presidents and faculty.

“Community colleges are the key to a trained workforce throughout New York and are the greatest hope to foster social mobility for its citizens,” said Dr. Randall VanWagoner, president of Mohawk Valley Community College. “Establishing a floor in the state aid formula would provide stable and predictable funding to allow for better planning and operations as we anticipate and respond to the ever-changing needs of our community.”