Board OKs FMCC budget

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton County Board of Supervisors recently approved Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s proposed $18.6 million 2013-14 budget. The spending plan calls for no increase in contributions from Fulton and Montgomery counties, but it slightly raises tuition.

The board voted 18-0, with two absent, to adopt the college’s operating budget at the County Office Building on Monday. Action followed a public hearing in which no one spoke.

The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors still has to OK the budget before it can be sent later this summer to the State University of New York for final adoption.

FMCC President Dustin Swanger outlined budget details for the coming academic year. FMCC’s total proposed operating budget for the next academic year is $18.57 million, a decrease of 1 percent from the college’s 2012-13 spending plan. This is the sixth-consecutive year the college is seeking no county increases. Fulton and Montgomery counties would each contribute about $1.4 million to FMCC.

The budget calls for a tuition increase of $154 per year per student. The president said this figure is somewhat offset by a reduction in the health and wellness fee and student activity fee. The result is an actual increase in cost to students of $74 per academic year.

Current tuition for a full-time student is $1,722 per semester.

Swanger said FMCC’s tuition is still within the lower third of its “sister colleges” in New York state.

“I still think it’s very reasonable,” he stated.

The college is projecting a $304,000 increase in chargeback revenue. Chargebacks are funds paid to FMCC from other counties based on a student’s county of origin. Swanger said 80 percent of FMCC’s student population was from Fulton and Montgomery counties, but that figure is down to 73 percent. He said part of that may be attractive expanded housing close to the campus.

“We’ve really embraced being a residential campus,” Swanger said.

The college’s enrollment grew by 35 percent over the past several years, Swanger said. However, he said, the enrollment has declined slightly the past two years.

“We’re budgeting for a 2 percent decrease in enrollment,” Swanger said.