The expansion of Schenectady County Community College into downtown Albany looks like a winner — for the school, for both counties, for the city of Albany and for the thousand or so Albany County residents it is expected to attract.
The arrangement will allow SCCC, which has space limitations at its Schenectady campus, to continue growing. The primary beneficiaries will be the city of Albany, whose downtown will have 1,000 students descending on it on a regular basis; and Albany County, which will save roughly $1,000 per student in chargeback payments that it currently makes to Rensselaer County for its residents attending Hudson Valley Community College in Troy. (SCCC’s chargeback rate, set by the state, is substantially lower.)
But the growth should also enable SCCC to expand its course offerings, and if some of the Albany students eventually wind up coming to SCCC’s main campus, it will be good for the Electric City.
Last but not least, SCCC’s bottom line will benefit from additional chargeback payments, small as they may be, from Albany county students who enroll at the college.
Many Albany students — 5,000 of whom currently go to HVCC — will undoubtedly find it easier to go to downtown Albany than to Troy. And those who might eventually decide to take courses in Schenectady will find it easy, with free use of CDTA buses.
The only possible fly in the ointment could be for HVCC, which will lose some chunk of the $8.7 million in chargeback payments it has been getting from Albany County for its students. But it’s a much larger school and should be able to absorb the loss.
Another concern is that SCCC could lose track of its priorities and neglect its base: First and foremost, its resources should be focused on Schenectady and its county’s students. As long as that continues to be happen, a moderate expansion into Albany County shouldn’t be a problem.