Garden City, NY In testimony before a hearing of the New York State Commission on Higher Education that was held at Nassau Community College on November 15, Sean A. Fanelli, President of Nassau Community College, called upon the State to modify the higher educational assistance formula in a way that would bring millions of dollars more to Nassau Community College.
Dr. Fanelli's proposal, which has been endorsed by the Association of Presidents of Public Community Colleges, would establish a floor for State funding of community colleges of not less than 33% of net allowable operating costs. Under the current formula, Nassau Community College receives only approximately 25% of its net allowable operating costs in State aid because the State has the option of funding less than 33%, depending on the level of appropriations by the State Legislature. If this change in the funding formula had been in effect for the 2007/2008 fiscal year, NCC would have received $12 million more in State aid.
According to Dr. Fanelli, “These additional funds would have entirely removed the need for the tuition increase that was the source of great controversy during the County Legislature's consideration of NCC's budget this year.”
Fanelli went on to state that “for those who were concerned that this year's tuition increase, on top of the tuition increases in previous years, was narrowing the gateway of opportunity that NCC represents for more than 21,000 students, this formula change would bring meaningful relief. Moreover, these additional resources would allow NCC to expand the opportunities for its students to learn in an environment of academic excellence.”
Fanelli pointed out that, in addition to NCC, twelve other community colleges, including Suffolk County Community College, stand to benefit from this formula change. For the upcoming 2008/2009 fiscal year, this proposal could bring an addition $8 million to NCC and $1.7 million to SCCC on top of additional funding that could flow from an increase of $200 in the base aid for Full Time Equivalent (FTE) students that the community colleges are also urging be included in the Governor's upcoming budget.
The Commission on Higher Education was established by Governor Eliot Spitzer earlier this year. The Commission has been asked to identify ways of improving the quality of higher education in New York and has focused on, among other areas, tuition and financial aid, workforce and economic development, and educational excellence.