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February 24, 2011

Local SUNY schools losing funding

PLATTSBURGH — If Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal is realized, Clinton Community College will have lost 25 percent in state funding over two years.

Under former Gov. David Paterson, spending reductions to the State University of New York left the system's community colleges with a 15-percent cut in aid, while the current administration's budget would syphon another 10 percent.

"A 25-percent cut in two years is harsh," said CCC President John Jablonski.

Cuomo's proposal slashes $115.4 million from SUNY's budget, or 10 percent, to help grapple with a $10 billion deficit.

Chancellor Dr. Nancy Zimpher is pushing for phased-in tuition increases, but the governor believes SUNY can handle the cuts without raising its prices.

"We understand the governor is dealing with an incredibly difficult economic situation here in New York state," Jablonski said. "All of us are sensitive to that and want to do what we can to help him achieve a stronger economy.

GROWTH HELPS

Cuomo's proposed decrease in base per-student operating aid for community colleges would total roughly $300,000 for CCC.

The good news is the school's enrollment was up 10 percent last year and is on the rise this year, too, though not by as much. Still, enrollment increases won't make up the difference.

Clinton County also provides CCC a portion of its funding, but that entity is feeling the economic pinch, too.

TUITION

CCC could raise tuition, as it did last year with a 1.7-percent jump, placing the price tag at around $3,600 yearly. Unlike Plattsburgh State, which depends on a SUNY-wide tuition increase approved in Albany, CCC can raise its prices with the blessing of its trustees.

"We certainly don't want to make a drastic increase in tuition next year," Jablonski said. "Perhaps there will be some discussion on a small increase in tuition. If that comes to pass with higher enrollment, that could allow us to get through the budget year."

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