Supervisors Dismayed By Community College Chargebacks

By: Melissa deCordova

NORWICH – While enrollment numbers are up at Morrisville State College and the school’s projected $35,000 budget represents only a 3 percent increase on the levy, lawmakers left a committee meeting last week shaking their heads over a nearly 11 percent increase, or $1.05 million owed for students who attend community colleges.

Chenango County supervisors have repeatedly lamented increases in community college chargebacks over the last several years. Chargebacks totaled $1.1 million in 2007. They say the system of asking counties to subsidize students who attend out-of-county colleges - originally designed to support the infrastructure provided to them - is out-of-date.

Based on a system created back in 1947, tuition to community colleges are subsidized - in equal thirds - by the enrolled student, by the county where that student resides and by the state.

“It’s difficult to compete against them,” said Dean Dr. David E. Rogers, dean of business and academics at Morrisville State College’s Norwich Campus. “Community colleges can offer courses at a lower rate than a SUNY school can because they are receiving the chargeback from counties.”

Rogers was among four college officials who presented the institution’s 2009 budget plan to members of the county’s Planning and Economic Development Committee on Tuesday.

Moreover, he said, it costs $1,000 less per student to go to a community college versus Morrisville.

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