FM President Dr. Dustin Swanger recently discussed the impact of the Governor’s budget with the board of trustees.
The proposed budget will result in a 10 percent decrease in state aid. This decrease will put FMCC back about $500,000. State aid funding is provided based on an FTE, full time equivalent, rate. Even though the college enrollment has increased, with this proposal, funding will be lower than it was in the 1998-1999 school year.
Dr. Swanger says that he believes in small tuition increases over time. Although tuition wasn’t increased this year, it was increased the year before. He said he doesn’t see how the college can’t increase tuition. However fees such as student activity and lab fees will not be raised.
In a recent newspaper column, Swanger wrote:
“Public higher education is finding itself squeezed all across the country. In his budget, the Governor reduced state support for SUNY state operated campuses by another 10 percent. Additionally, he reduced aid to community colleges by another 10 percent per full-time equivalent student (FTE). In 2008-09 the FTE rate was $2,675. In 2010-11 (the current year) the FTE rate is $2,260. In the Governor proposed budget the FTE rate would be $2,034 – an FTE rate equivalent to 1998-99.
“New York State is not alone in its reduction of support for community colleges. These are troubling economic times and we should all expect to feel some pain. But how much pain is too much? The challenge that we face in public higher education is the convergence of disparate demands. That is, public financial support is eroding from our budgets.
“Because it makes for difficult politics, public higher education is being, at best, discouraged from, and at worst, ordered from raising tuition rates. While at the same time public higher education is being inundated with students (FM has grown by one-third since 2006). We are encouraged to get involved in the economic recovery of our communities.
“New policy direction from the federal government is driving higher education to ensure that it graduates more students, provides more retention services for the neediest students, and increases access to a college education for every citizen in the United States.”