Fulton-Montgomery Community College President Dustin Swanger and the college's Board of Trustees deserve credit for trying to keep costs down for local taxpayers and students.
Granted, the college is increasing tuition by $50, bringing the annual cost for in-state students to $3,194, but other community colleges in New York are planning higher tuition increases and already charge more than FMCC.
For the second year in a row, the college is seeking no increase in the annual contributions from the two sponsoring counties, Fulton and Montgomery. Each county now contributes nearly $1.4 million.
Of course, the counties provide more than the annual contribution. Local taxpayers also pay for upgrades at the college. For example, the college will ask for $100,000 from each county to replace its Management Information System. Swanger said the cost of the system is estimated to be about $900,000. Half of the money would come from the college's operating budget, $200,000 from the counties, $100,000 from the FM Foundation and $155,000 from State University of New York technology funds. The new system would, among other things, allow students to access their accounts from the Internet and enable them to register for courses and pay bills online.
The college's operational and capital costs are significant, but when you weigh the local taxpayer expense and the student tuition against the college's benefits to local residents, it's still a bargain.
The counties have to monitor the college closely and pressure officials to spend wisely and carefully, but in recent years, the demands placed on local taxpayers and students have been reasonable compared to those imposed by many other community colleges.