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What you need to know for 08/20/2017

Students to foot bill as two-year college costs rise

Students to foot bill as two-year college costs rise

Of the five two-year colleges in the greater Capital Region, four are hiking tuition this fall.

The two sponsoring counties aren’t increasing their support for Fulton-Montgomery Community College for the coming year, so students will be paying more to attend.

But FMCC is not alone. Of the five two-year colleges in the greater Capital Region, four are hiking tuition this fall.

SUNY Adirondack, SUNY Cobleskill and Hudson Valley Community College also have increased tuition; Schenectady County Community College tuition remains unchanged from 2012-13.

Tuition tally

The tuition per semester at two-year colleges in the Capital Region in 2013 and 2012, respectively:

FMCC: $1,799, $1,722

HVCC: $1,990, $1,950

SCCC: $1,692, $1,692

SUNY ADIRONDACK: $1,887, $1,832

SUNY COBLESKILL: $2,935, $2,785

According to The College Board’s Annual Survey of Colleges, New York state is still among the less-expensive places to go to school: Tuition is higher in 36 other states and lower in 13 states.

The College Board, a nationwide, nonprofit industry group with members from 6,000 colleges and universities, found the lowest published tuition and fee prices for 2012-13 in public, two-year colleges in California at $1,418 and New Mexico at $1,537.

The College Board found tuition and fees averaged $3,131 nationwide for public two-year institutions. That’s significantly less that just tuition at the five two-year Capital Region colleges.

Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s $18.57 million budget, reduced by 1 percent from 2012-13, projects a 2 percent decrease in enrollment, college President Dustin Swanger said. The college of about 2,150 full-time students will be collecting $154 more per year in tuition, a cost hike tempered by reductions in fees, he said.

Tuition is increasing from $3,444 to $3,598, but the wellness fee and student activity fee are being reduced by $60 and $20, respectively, so the net increase at FMCC will be $74 for the year, Swanger said.

Modest tuition increases each year, he said, are preferred over major changes.

“I think students and parents absorb small, incremental increases better and almost expect it, as opposed to all of a sudden $200 or $400,” Swanger said.

The college, serving students primarily from Fulton and Montgomery counties, is receiving an increase of $150 per each full time-equivalent student in New York state education aid this year, he said. It brings the state’s contribution to 24 percent of the college’s costs — a total of $2,422 compared with $2,765 back in 2008, Swanger said.

This year marks the sixth in a row in which neither Fulton nor Montgomery counties will boost their contributions to the college. Each are allocating about $1.4 million.

Swanger said the college has been able to hold its own under static funding from the counties for six years, but that stretch is likely over.

“Not asking for an increase is not a trend that I can continue,” he said.

The college is taking advantage of increase revenue from students attending from other counties. Swanger said historically, 80 percent of the students have come from Fulton or Montgomery counties, but that’s down to 73 percent now.

The college is able to collect a “chargeback rate” from other counties, and students from other counties or states pay double the standard tuition rate.

“We are actually looking more at out-of-county, out-of-state and international students because I think it helps us economically, but it adds a cultural aspect to our campus that I think is important,” Swanger said.

Last year, 110 students from other countries attended FMCC, with 135 expected for the coming fall semester.

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