By Deanna Honett
On Thursday February 25th 2016, a day also known
as higher education day, Dr. Adams who is the colleges vice president of student affairs traveled to Albany with other students to fight for a decrease in our students tuition rates while also standing up to the state and demanding that they pay there fair share to our college. The rise of the tuition rate at our college is affecting many students negatively, causing issues and dilemmas for our student body. Books and supplies alone are estimated to be around $1,500. All of our schools expenses add up and are overwhelming. The student and faculty members need to come together and make a stand so our voice can be heard by the state, showing that we are willing to fight for a decrease in tuition, to stand up in order to keep our education affordable and accessible. Our student body is very diverse, every student having there own story and struggle. The student body must voice its frustration about the rapid rising tuition rates so our struggles can be heard.
According to the website collegecalc.org the estimated cost at Suffolk is predicted to have an increase up to $32,626 in five years for our students enrolling in a two year degree in 2021. In fifteen years the estimated cost for a two year degree for students enrolling in 2031 is predicted to go up to $53,145. The annual increase has become too much. Suffolk has always been known to be an affordable local school for those who are determined to get an education but are not as fortunate to have the money, or a lack of resources, to start off there college journey.
Suffolk is a great way to kick start ones college degree without becoming broke or engulfed in student loans, but the rapid price increase will affect many students chances of getting a local, affordable college degree. In an economy time period that is already struggling it is important to keep opportunities opened for people that are willing to succeed in life but just need access to the right tools. It is important to keep our community educated but we cannot do this if we do not allow the right resources or chances to be offered to people who want an education.
In 2002 the schools in-state tuition rate coasted $2,716 and out-of-state was $5,146. From 2002 to today, you see a rapid aggressive price increase, providing indications that the schools rising tuition over the next few years will continue to sky rocket unless we speak up together and have our student body do something about this dilemma. This was Dr. Adams third year traveling with a group of students to Albany so the students can voice there stories and struggles, while gaining a valuable experience.
Taylar Schubart is a current student here at Suffolk paying an in-state tuition rate. When asked about how the tuition rising has affected her she responded, “I was able to remain in college thankfully after the tuition increase because I receive financial aid or else I would not have been able to go.” Taylar, like many students, has the passion and drive to work hard towards gaining a knowledgeable college experience, but lacks many of the resources so needed to ask for outside financial support. Most students at Suffolk attend this college because it is affordable, but slowly making Suffolk no longer affordable will not only cause issues among the student body as it adds stress and dilemmas, but will also force many students to be unable to return due to their financial positions.
Falah Jalali is a current student paying an out-of-state tuition. She discussed how the increase affected her, saying “I currently don’t have a car so I am commuting to the college by taking buses and walking which can be a struggle. When the tuition increased that just made me that much further away from being able to purchase a car and increasing my struggle to attend college.”
Our college has some exceptional students that, when given the right opportunities and resources, have the ability to excel to new found heights, but the tuition increases will block many students from being given the chance to do so. Problems such as traveling to and from school due to financial issues is a problem that students and faculty members coming together can help solve by letting students pay less to achieve more. This is why the Albany trip was so important. If our students did not have to work as many long hours on top of being a full time student, they would be able to focus on there academics more, as well as being able to become more involved in school activities or sports with more free time.
NYS community colleges should be contributing 40% that would be a share of over $78 million, but what Suffolk is currently receiving is 26%, which comes out to about $50.5 million. If we received the full 40% imagine the possibilities for our students! Not only how much lower the tuition could be at SCCC but also how much more our students could be able to achieve when they no longer have to stress out about tuition and working countless extra hours on top of their studies in order to be able to attend here. The sky becomes the limit.
Dr. Adams describes our student’s presence in
Albany as, “A powerful Presence. The students all had chances for there voices to be heard, making the trip well worth it. I was most impressed with the students this year and was in awe with there dedication.” Thanks to faculty like Dr. Adams, our students continue to have a chance to be heard. Everyone must wait until April 1st to find out if the trip to Albany was a success at gaining the money requested from the state, but no matter what we seem to have a remarkable student body that will continue to stand up for what is needed and go forward with strength.