By Jamal Jordan
Over the past years, inadequate funding from New York State and Suffolk County has leave the burden of funding the college primarily on the shoulders of the students.
Ideally, the formula to operate the campuses is, “1/3 from the students, 1/3 from the county and 1/3 from the state.” This is in reference to New York Education Law 6304: NY Code-Section 6304: Financing of Community Colleges. However, this is not the case being.
In a previous interview with Robert Lipp, The Director of the Budget Review Office, he made it clear that the County is contributing their fair share.
“What the college uses to calculate the relative share of the State, County and student is based on SUNY methodology, which employs logic that is hard to follow. The percentage that are referenced exclude over $15 million in revenue that SUNY categorizes as “Offset Revenue” and approximately $3 million in grants. That’s over $18 million that doesn’t fit into any of the three categories,” said Lipp.
The State on the other hand has made no effort to increase funding for the upcoming 2015-2016 year and in order to bridge the gap of inflation, it’s rumored that the Board Of Trustees has approved an increase in tuition.
Students are already paying almost 46 percent to operate the college when they should only be paying 33 percent and increasing tuition while wages are stagnant is unjust and unfair to students who’re trying to earn a degree.
The fact still remains that students have bills to pay. Whether its rent or credit card payments, these are all factors that diminishes their paychecks and increasing tuition inclines student financially.
“More than 18,000 students receive some form of financial aid that enables them to attend Suffolk County Community College, and even though there will be a tuition increase, students with full TAP will also receive an increase in their TAP award,” said Drew Biondo, Director of Communication at the college.
Tanisha Garrett, a second year student at the Grant Campus received full TAP coverage for her tuition but she’s concerned for the students who work and pay tuition from their own pockets.
“People can’t afford to go to school, tuition is expensive enough,” Garrett opined. “How can they afford it if they’re working full time or part time and their wages are not increasing?”
Although some students do receive TAP awards, other have to pay their way through college however, Biondo said they don’t have to because they also receive an “award.”
“First year students are allowed $3,500 per year between subsidized and unsubsidized loans plus an additional $2,000 in unsubsidized eligibility. Second year students are allowed $4,500 in subsidized and unsubsidized loans plus an additional $2,000 in unsubsidized funds,” said Biondo.
With the help of “Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans,” student are financially being placed into higher and higher debt every semester.
One of the main purpose of community colleges is to give people an affordable chance to attend college.
Many students such as Elizabeth Foster depends heavily on the Financial Aid Office. According to her, she “Applied for Financial Aid too late,” and is currently taking the semester off. Even though she works 25 hours per week, she’s not able to pay for the semester herself.
By no doubt, the college and the County has very close ties and as a result, the county gets away with contributing less than required funding.
Students need a break from hikes in tuition but most of them are too busy to realize there’s actually a hike.
I’ve covered a few articles of the college going after the State to increase funding and not the County. Many students were surprised to know that they were paying almost 46 percent in tuition.
The hike in tuition is something that only a few people knows of and students are way too busy with work and issues at home than to pay attention to unjust hikes.
The college is this to their advantage in that they don’t provide sufficient information for anyone to fully comprehend. The administrators at the college runs the campuses like a secret institution and getting any information in regard to any topic is funneled through Drew Biondo who strays away from answering directly