Schenectady County

SCCC budget to climb 7.1 percent

Startup costs for establishing an extension site in downtown Albany are responsible for roughly half

Startup costs for establishing an extension site in downtown Albany are responsible for roughly half of Schenectady County Community College’s 7.1 percent budget increase next year, according to a spending plan before the Schenectady County Legislature.

By hosting programs in Albany, the college should soon realize increased revenue from chargebacks assessed to out-of-county students enrolled in the classes. SCCC President Quintin Bullock said the college will be able to raise $1.6 million from out-of-county residents, based on enrollment and the chargeback formula as it exists today.

Students attending classes in Albany will be able to earn about half their degree in the 10,000 square feet of classroom space being created in a State Street office building. Bullock said these students will need to finish their degree on the main campus in Schenectady.

“The intent is to increase the number of Albany residents who will find that location ideal to access higher education and workforce training,” he said Tuesday.

Construction on the new location is expected to begin in July. The first classes are expected to be hosted in Albany starting in January 2014.

The overall 2013-14 budget calls for $29.5 million in spending. County funding for the college will remain at $2.1 million next year, Bullock said.

The budget relies on taking $264,055 from fund balance to cover the $1 million required to establish the Albany site. Absent the expansion, the budget increase would drop to 3.4 percent over the 2012-13 spending plan.

The college’s budget includes no tuition increase and only modest boosts to fees. Bullock said the college is experiencing an enrollment growth of about 1.5 percent per year.

“We have a solid budget that closely aligns with the college’s strategic plan and enrollment that will support the continued growth and development,” he said.

The budget was adopted by the college’s Board of Trustees last month. County legislators scheduled a public hearing on the budget for July 1.

Bullock said the budget also includes funding for five new faculty positions supporting new programs. This includes a new associate’s degree in casino gaming management starting this fall.

The college will become the only regional school to offer such a program as Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to push for legislation to legalize live-table gaming in the state. Bullock said the program is in response to anticipated future employment needs.

“Regionally, we are the first to have the casino and gaming program,” he said. “We’re very excited about this program.”

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