County’s planning, economic development budgets reviewed

NORWICH – The make-up of students at Morrisville State College’s campus in Norwich has changed over the last decade from mostly adults to at least 50 percent being more traditionally college-aged.

“That’s a big difference. Our complexion has changed,” Dean Ted Nichols said at a budget planning meeting of the Planning & Economic Development Committee this week.

A more traditionally-aged student body along with newly implemented educational programs in early childhood development, human services and criminal justice is hoped to boost registration at the Conkey Avenue branch campus. The trend has already begun with 519 students registered this fall versus 499 in 2005.

Committee Chairwoman Linda E. Natoli, R-City of Norwich, said the criminal justice program in particular should be a big draw to students from outside the county. “We pay a hefty chunk of money to pay for our students to go to community colleges outside. We hope this will bring them back and bring in students from outside,” she said.

When making the decision three years ago to expand Morrisville’s Norwich branch, lawmakers had hoped the new campus would eventually keep students from attending colleges outside the county. Taxpayers pays about $800,000 for college charge backs each year.

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