ELIZABETHTOWN — North Country Community College received passing marks from Essex County on Monday, July 7 when lawmakers approved the institution’s 2014-15 annual budget.
NCCC requested an additional $50,000 from Franklin and Essex counties, or $1,190,000 each alongside $50,000 for a capital improvement fund, for the budget, the first increase in five years.
While the total budget decreased 1.4 percent from last year to $14.3 million, tuition will jump five percent next semester, from $4,050 to $4,250.
‘NO ONE WANTS TO INCREASE COSTS’
Finance Committee Chairman Tom Scozzafava asked NCCC President Dr. Steven Tyrell if the school was trying to bridge the funding gap by raising tuition.
“We’re staying competitive with our peers,” he said, stating the trend of declining enrollment across the state above Westchester County.
“Fundamentally, no one wants to increase costs for the students,” he said. “We are very sensitive about that. If we weren’t, we could look at the current budget deficit and try to bridge that gap, but that would be absolutely untenable to our students.”
Minerva Supervisor Stephen McNally asked if all applicants were accepted to the school’s nursing program. “There’s an overall shortage of nurses in Essex County,” he said. “There’s like a 20 percent acceptance rate from [Adirondack Community College and SUNY Adirondack] and I was just wondering if you get the enrollment up and get the people to come from Adirondack to get them to come to Essex County and try to expand our nursing program.”
“There’s a huge wait list,” said Tyrell. “We’re limited in clinical sites. We can’t fit any more through the door — it’s an untenable situation. Can’t have a group of 10 people with eight patients on the floor. It really has a lot to do with regulations.”
Essex County must cough up the cash for each resident that opts to attend community college outside of the county.