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NCCC budget keeps county funding level

ELIZABETHTOWN - North Country Community College will look to fill the gap left by a loss of state aid by asking more from its students rather than local taxpayers.

Administrators of NCCC presented their proposed budget to the Essex County Finance Committee June 21, noting a plan for level funding from sponsor counties.

Both Essex and Franklin counties each contribute $2.38 million to the college annually, which would remain the same for the 2010-2011 year.

Instead, the college plans to raise tuition $70 to $3,730 per year for in-state students, a 1.9-percent increase. Tuition for out-of-state students will rise another $200 per year, a 2.2-percent increase.

College president Dr. Carol Brown said the proposed budget aims to plan for a worst-case scenario.

"At this point we do not know our funding from the State University of New York," she said, noting how NCCC, like other community colleges across the state, has seen significant cuts in per-student funding from the state recently.

State aid for the coming year is projected at $2,260 for each full-time student equivalent. That's $415 less than the prior year. The amount of aid the college receives for students living on campus is also expected to decrease.

Another loss of revenue comes in the form of a rate decrease the college is allowed to charge counties outside of Essex and Franklin from which some students attend.

Fortunately, enrollment is projected to rise. The college welcomed more than 2,200 full-time and part-time students this past year, amounting to 1,185 full-time equivalencies. About 1,375 FTEs are anticipated for next year.

The vast majority of those students are eligible for state tuition aid.

The college's overall spending is projected to increase 2.5 percent as more staff is hired to handle the rise in enrollment.

The budget reflects known staffing and salaries, but vice president for fiscal operations William Chapin said the college has some vacant positions it anticipates will need to be filled.

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