Morrisville Plan Would Increase Enrollment, Cut County Costs

By: Melissa deCordova

Morrisville plan would increase enrollment, cut county costs

NORWICH – A plan to boost enrollment at Morrisville State College’s campus at the Eaton Center and thereby reduce a bill approaching $1 million for student tuitions to outside community colleges is making its way through the levels of Chenango County government.

It comes after months of discussion that began with the release of record low enrollment numbers in March, along with the realization that Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3) was offering AP courses just blocks away at Norwich High School, ultimately driving up the county’s share for students’ tuitions.

In an effort to cover the ‘bricks and mortar’ cost of the community college institution, tuition for resident students attending them in another county was equally shared between New York, the counties and enrolled students. But two things have happened since the state education law was adopted more than 40 years ago: One, more students are taking community college courses online and elsewhere; and two, New York State has pulled back on its share.

The total amount of chargebacks budget for 2012 was $950,000. For a $232 community college credit hour, the county currently pays $123, or about $12 more per credit this year than they did last year.

The plan would ask taxpayers to front $50 per hour, or $150 for a 2-credit course. Morrisville College Norwich Campus Dean Dr. Marsha Cornelius said there were 72 Norwich High School students already signed up for accounting, business law, calculus and biology courses in the fall. College-level English and possibly American government courses are planned for Otselic Valley students wanting to take them and, for Unadilla Valley students, calculus courses. The courses would be offered within the respective high schools.

If the numbers hold true, the plan could ultimately save taxpayers 40 percent in community college tuitions than those students might otherwise have charged back the county, county and college officials said.

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