Support SUNY Community College Funding
As a constituent who cares deeply about SUNY Community Colleges, I am writing to seek your support in providing an increase of $250 in state base aid per full-time equivalent (FTE) to raise the per-student level of spending to $3,197. In addition, I would ask you to support a hybrid funding methodology that was agreed upon, during last year's budget negotiations, between SUNY and NYSUT. As proposed, the methodology would help SUNY Community Colleges to manage enrollment fluctuations and provide them with greater security and support by allowing them to use a three-year average or the FTE dollar amount.
While the executive budget proposes flat funding per FTE student, you should know that this will mean a loss of funding to some campuses that have seen enrollments decline. I appreciate that the Legislature has provided base aid increases to these campuses over the last five years. However, New York State is not fulfilling its statutory obligation to provide 40 percent of operating costs for these community colleges.
Unfortunately, the state has reduced its financial support to these institutions and shifted costs to its students. For example, from 2008-09 to 2018-19, the state's contribution decreased from 30.8 percent to 25 percent. Sadly, this percentage continues to move in the wrong direction of where it needs to be and is contrary to the formulas prescribed in the education law. The state should fulfill its promise to these campuses which serve as gateways to higher education for tens of thousands of students.
I ask that you raise this important issue in conference and urge your leadership to strongly advocate for increased funding for CUNY and SUNY community colleges during this year's budget negotiations.
Thank you for your consideration of this important matter. I would greatly appreciate a response to this letter.
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