Tonawanda News

Obama visits WNY

August 22, 2013

College costs are on the rise

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — “For years, long before Jack Quinn got here, the state of New York has not lived up to their percentage,” he said. And while Erie County is a good partner in other ways, it has not increased its amount in seven years, he said. “Today, the students at ECC will pick up about 51 percent of the tuition tab.”

That said, Quinn lauded ECC’s inclusion on the most-affordable-colleges list. The school was the only public community college in the state to make the list, which tracks the net prices of schools around the country. 

“We believe we’re the best education value in western New York state, quality education at an affordable price,” he said. “We are the best bargain around.”

Not only do the percentages carried by students increase, but there are other factors in tuition increases as well. Colleges must keep up with their technology, especially ones such as ECC with many technical programs, Quinn said.

“We must be up-to-date with the equipment, whether it’s auto technology, whether it’s nursing ... or nanotechnology,” he said. “Those are really, really technology-sensitive.”

If the college doesn’t have the equipment its graduates would use at a job site, those graduates may not get jobs, Quinn said.

“Staying current with technology and equipment is something we’re always thinking about,” he said.

For Niagara County Community College, in-state students paid $3,750 in 2009-10 and $4,040 in 2012-13, an increase of $290, or about 8 percent. However, for out-of-state students, tuition and fees were $7,158 in 2009-10 and $9,584 in 2012-13, an increase of $2,426, or about 34 percent.

The Associated Press has reported that tuition and fees at community colleges are up 24 percent beyond overall inflation over the past five years, according to the College Board.

Whatever the price, college costs are something that families of most income levels must now consider well before high school — or even birth.

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