Community colleges are located where students live and work, teach all types of students and help to advance social mobility. They often collaborate with regional businesses and employers to develop and provide training to address local workforce needs.
Community colleges educate and prepare students for the workforce, as well as provide the foundation for those students who move on to four-year campuses or universities.
The current statutory requirement in education law stipulates that the state shall pay 40 percent of the operating costs of these campuses.
However, the state is not meeting its obligation.
The 2020-21 New York State Executive Budget proposal provides flat funding per full-time equivalent (FTE) student for community colleges. Flat funding will likely force these campuses to raise tuition and/or make cuts by eliminating academic programs and student services. While state base aid funding is flat, the proposal will force community colleges in New York to receive less state funding than previous years due to enrollment fluctuations.
SUNY community college students are paying the lion’s share of operating costs of these campuses. Over the ten-year period from 2009-10 to 2019-20, SUNY community college students went from paying 43.6 percent of the operating costs to approximately 40.0 percent. While the state’s contribution for the same period decreased from 29.4 percent to 25.3 percent.
The New York State Legislature can and must act to help support our college students and fund our future.
Raise the per student level of spending to $3,197 – this proposal would mitigate the impact of a loss of state aid due to enrollment fluctuations.
Though enrollment on some campuses has decreased, operational costs have not. For our campuses to maintain and enhance academic programming and supports, their state funding needs to be maintained responsibly.
Lawmakers should add SUNY community colleges to the list of eligible educational institutions that are exempt from the Metropolitan Transportation Mobility Tax.