Student sign-up soars at college

Fulton-Montgomery Community College President Dustin Swanger said Monday that administrators were ab
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Fulton-Montgomery Community College President Dustin Swanger said Monday that administrators were able to stave off a greater tuition increase because of expected record attendance.

“Our enrollment is projected to be the highest it’s ever been,” he said.

Swanger said the number of full-time students is projected to rise to 1,760 for the fall semester.

The college’s Web site lists a fall enrollment for 2007 of 1,453 full-time students, and projections for the coming year represent the largest number of full-time students since the college was built in 1969.

Swanger said he believes the current state of the economy might play a role in the community college seeing increased enrollment.

People may be seeking to maximize the money they spend on education and take advantage of the lower cost for an initial two years of college before transferring to more expensive institutions, Swanger said.

Increased economic pressures on people might also lead to individuals seeking to upgrade their skills in order to find better-paying jobs, he said.

Still others may seek to take advantage of the college’s proximity in light of rising fuel prices, Swanger said.

Fulton-Montgomery Community College is supported by two sponsors, Fulton and Montgomery counties. Each county provides $1,395,821 annually in funding for FMCC.

Montgomery County supervisors are expected to set a public hearing tonight on a 2008-09 budget approved last month by the FMCC board of trustees.

The $15.65 million budget represents a 2.63 percent spending increase and calls for collecting $50 more for a year’s tuition.

The cost for two semesters will rise to $3,144 compared to the current $3,094.

The tuition hike represents the smallest proposed increase among local community colleges.

Trustees at Schenectady County Community College are considering a tuition increase of $140, and Hudson Valley Community College students face an increase of $100 per year.

If ultimately approved, those increases will bring a full year’s tuition up to $3,030 at SCCC and $2,900 at HVCC.

Canajoharie Supervisor Robert McMahon, the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors liaison to the college, said Monday the increased enrollment figures are heartening, but he cautioned that more students can lead to the need for more staff and facility needs.

“I think the administration and the trustees have done a super job, but we have to keep in mind … expenses will go up for the students and the state,” McMahon said.

The amount of money New York state is providing community colleges remains unchanged at $2,675 per full-time equivalent student for the upcoming year, Swanger said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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