Genesee Community College officials concerned about state budget proposal

Genesee Community College officials concerned about state budget proposal

BATAVIA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Community colleges across New York State are taking a close look at Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal. They have some major concerns, and at least one president says it could lead to tuition increases.

Dr. James Sunser is the president of Genesee Community College in Batavia. He says the funding formula proposed in next year’s state budget is basically the same as it is this year. But there’s a caveat. That formula is based on how many students are taking classes. Right Now, Dr. Sunser says it looks like enrollment will be down next year.

“It’s certainly down slightly, as it is across the state,” Sunser said.

How much money GCC receives each year from the state depends on what’s called “full time equivalent” students. The school has about 5,000 of them now. But when that number drops next year, as the president expects to happen, the amount of state aid will drop with it, if the governor’s budget proposal goes through.

“Those state dollars are very important to us,” Sunser said.

Fewer and fewer dollars in state aid have been sent to GCC since 2015. Officials say if the proposed budget is enacted, the downward trend will continue.

Sunser told News 4, “To provide the services that students need to be successful, you would have to look at local sponsorship increases and tuition and fee increases to maintain that level of support students need to be successful.”

Alex Yelokhin is set to graduate from GCC at the end of this semester. Yelokhin, who is from Ukraine, said the school is a special place because of how friendly the people are. Even though he’s set to leave the school, he’s calling on the state legislature to modify the governor’s proposal.

“I think the government is supposed to fund and invest as much money as they can to the universities, schools, anything like that because the most important resource in every country is the people,” Yelokhin said.

GCC officials are asking that their funding be stabilized, instead of based on a formula.

The final budget is due April 1st.

Source: Buffalo New York’s Latest News
Genesee Community College officials concerned about state budget proposal

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