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Tuition hiked in FM budget

Tuesday, June 03, 2014 - Updated: 10:03 AM

CAROLINE MURRAY

caroline.murray@recordernews.com

JOHNSTOWN -- Tuition at Fulton Montgomery Community College will increase by $50 for the 2014-15 school year.

The increase is part of the college's proposed $19.7 million budget, which the board of trustees approved at a meeting last month.

F-MCC President Dustin Swanger said the cost of higher education continues to grow each year, and the board prefers to implement small annual increases, rather than building up to one large jump.

"I think it is easier for students to plan on small annual increases," Swanger said.

According to the State University of New York, in-state community college students spent approximately $3,960 on tuition for the 2013-14 school year.

Currently, F-MCC charges students $3,598 a year. Swanger said the amount is low, and will continue to be competitive among other community colleges across the state.

The college has seen an increase in enrollment during the past seven years -- even this past year, to Swanger's surprise.

"We anticipated a reduction in enrollment in the fall, and spring saw an increase," he said.

Besides an increase in tuition, the tentative budget includes no increase in subsidy contributions from Fulton and Montgomery counties.

For the past six years, Swanger said the counties have annually subsidized approximately $1.4 million to the college's operating budget.

Additionally, Swanger said the college is using $370,000 of fund balance money to balance out the budget. By the end of the year, Swanger said the fund balance is expected to amount to $2.5 million.

The proposed spending plan will be sent to SUNY by Sept. 1 once the counties approve the budget.

Swanger said both counties will hold a public hearing on the tentative plan in the upcoming days and he expects a decision from both by July 1.

"I think that FM, like all community colleges, is cost conscious over the money they spend and what they have to charge students. I think it is a very responsible budget," Swanger said.

     

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