FM proposal raises tuition by $50

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton-Montgomery Community College Board of Trustees approved a proposed $19.7 million 2014-15 budget, which calls for no increase in contributions from Fulton and Montgomery counties but raises tuition by $50 per student.

FMCC President Dustin Swanger said the budget is an increase of 6.1 percent from the college’s 2013-14 spending plan.

This is the seventh-consecutive year the college is seeking no increases in contributions from the two counties. Fulton and Montgomery counties each would contribute about $1.4 million to FMCC under the new budget.

Swanger said the college is using about $370,000 of the college’s fund balance in the budget.

Both counties still have to vote on whether to approve the budget before it can be sent later this summer to the State University of New York for final adoption. Swanger said he is drafting an executive summary and expects to present the budget to the counties within the next couple of weeks.

The budget calls for a tuition increase of $50 per year per student.

Current tuition for a full-time student is $1,774 per semester.

Swanger said FMCC’s tuition is still low compared to other state colleges in the state.

“I believe in small incremental increases in tuition rather than trying to hold the line,” Swanger said. “In talking to my colleague presidents, they are all increasing, so we are still in the lower part.”

He said most of the increases in the budget this year are in personnel costs, fringe benefits, health-insurance costs and retiree expenses.

He said the equipment line of the budget was increased by about $200,000 to improve various labs on campus.

“A lot of it is academic equipment in labs,” Swanger said. “It will be used on science labs, graphic-arts labs and computer labs. We had cut that back a lot last year, so we needed to increase it this year.”

The college’s current base aid per full-time equivalent student is $2,422. The new state budget will bring that total up to $2,497 for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

He said the college is expecting enrollment to remain flat this year. He said the number of full-time equivalent students should remain around 2,130.