SCHENECTADY — SUNY Schenectady County Community College is planning to increase tuition for the 2022-23 academic year by 2% to help cover a $1.9 million increase in spending made necessary by rising costs brought on by supply chain issues and inflation.
College President Steady Moono unveiled the colleges $29.4 million spending plan at a meeting of the Schenectady County Legislature’s Committee on Education & Libraries, calling the proposal “responsible and responsive” to faculty and students’ needs.
“I sit before you saying that this is the best that we could do,” he told lawmakers. “We had been working at this for a really constructed period of time trying to navigate it the best way that we can. The nationwide inflationary pressures on our operating budget are real, they are here and we need to navigate them.”
Under the proposed spending plan, the college would raise tuition rates by 2.3%, bringing the cost per credit hour for part-time students to $196, an increase of $4 per hour. Full-time students would pay $2,352 per semester. The college would eliminate its online course fee, but raise its technology fee to $29 per credit or $384 per semester.
In addition, the college is also seeking an additional $48,000 in support from the county, a 2% increase, which would bring the county’s total allotment to just over $2.4 million. The college is also expecting to receive $15.6 million in government support, which includes state and local aid, and will use $1.7 million in federal coronavirus aid as well as $1.7 million in fund balance.
Patrick Ryan, the college’s vice president of administration, said the college is projecting to enroll 1,964 full-time equivalent students next year, which would be the sharpest increase in enrollment the college has seen in years. The college is projecting $8.1 million in tuition and $2.2 million in student fees.
Enrollment at the college has been on the decline for the better part of the decade, a trend seen by all 32 community colleges in the sprawling SUNY system and an issue that has been exacerbated due to the pandemic, which forced to college to switch to online learning and adopt stringent safety plans in order to mitigate the spread of the virus.
During the fall of 2021, SUNY Schenectady enrolled 1,131 full-time equivalent students, a 7.8% decrease from the previous year, when 1,227 full-time students were enrolled, according to SUNY data.
The drop is even stepper between the fall of 2019 and 2020, when the college was forced to pivot to a hybrid-learning model due to the emergency of COVID-19 during the spring semester of 2020. Enrollment dropped 21% year over year, from 1,555 full-time students in fall 2019 to 1,227 in 2020, according to data.
“I think peoples’ aversion to coming to college is starting to wane a little bit, which is great news,” Ryan said. “There’s two years of folks that are pent up, so to speak, right now that are going to be looking at higher education and we are going to be there ready to serve them.”
The college is also planning to add nine new positions, including four full-time faculty members and five staff positions, including a marketing coordinator and an academic advisor. A full-time biology professor, choral instructor and a director and instructor for the college’s aviation program would also be added.
A public hearing on the proposed budget before final adopting by the county legislature will take place on Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. in the chambers of the Schenectady County Legislature located at 620 State St., Schenectady.
Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: 518-410-5117 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.