ALBANY – Community Colleges throughout New York State would likely suffer from a funding cut under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed 2019 state budget.
The spending plan, which was released on Tuesday in Albany, includes a flat funding formula for the state’s 30 community colleges – including the one here in Jamestown – based on the number of full-time students. However, due to declining enrollment, that means about $18 million in state aid will be cut for the two-year schools.
Officials from community colleges say that a combination of factors have led to declining enrollment, including – most recently – the Excelsior Scholarship program. Excelsior covers the cost of tuition at 4-year schools for state residents who meet certain financial requirements. That means fewer of them are going to community colleges to help save money.
State Senator Cathy Young (R-Olean), who chairs the senate finance committee, tells WRFA that if possible, she would like to see some of the money restored.
“They will be a priority of the legislature and if we can find the funds, one of my priorities would be to be able to restore [funding] for community colleges. They are fantastic educational institutions. They train people to be successful in the workforce. They employ a lot of people. And they are important to the fabric of our communities, not only in Chautauqua County but also in Cattaraugus County, so we’ll be taking a very hard look at the governor’s proposal,” Young said.
Officials with the State University of New York system – which oversee both community colleges and the four year state institutions – are calling on state lawmakers to come up with a new model that would stabilize the campuses. The say they will share more details about the community college funding model with the governor and the legislature as the budget process moves forward in Albany.