Students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands displaced by devastating hurricanes will now qualify for in-state tuition at Schenectady County Community College.
The school's board of trustees approved the discounted tuition Monday night, in a move that mirrors action by SUNY's trustees last month to offer the in-state rate at SUNY universities. State officials also encouraged community college boards to do the same.
"What happened in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands has been devastating and heart-wrenching for so many people, including students trying to pursue higher education and fulfill their dreams," SCCC President Steady Moono said in a statement.
SCCC has also helped raise money and supplies to donate to hurricane relief efforts.
"We were already doing activities for folks displaced by the hurricanes, so it was natural for us" to offer the tuition discount, said Patrick Ryan, SCCC vice president of business administration.
Ryan said he didn't expect a lot of students to take advantage of the in-state tuition but said three students already enrolled at SCCC had been displaced by the hurricanes and would be eligible for the benefit.
In-state tuition rates at SCCC are half the cost paid by out-of-state students: $3,936 for a full year, compared with $7,872 for out-of-state students.
More than a half dozen community colleges around the state have similarly adopted the in-state tuition rate for students displaced by hurricanes, including SUNY Adirondack, according to SUNY spokeswoman Holly Liapis. More community colleges will consider the tuition break next month.
At the University at Albany, about a dozen prospective students have asked about the tuition break, including four who have applied to enter the school beginning in the spring, UAlbany spokesman Mike Nolan said. Nolan said they schools is continuing to receive applications through January.