Coronavirus News: Long Island college freezes tuition for 2nd year in a row due to pandemic

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LONG ISLAND (WABC) -- Students will not need to pay tuition increases or fee increases at Suffolk County Community College next school year.

For the second consecutive year, Suffolk County Community College's Board of Trustees voted unanimously to freeze tuition at the State University of New York's largest community college, citing the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and strain it has put on students, their families, and finances.

"By freezing tuition and fees, we are not only prioritizing students, but working to ensure cost is not a barrier to receiving a quality and affordable education," said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone in reaction to the Board's vote.

Officials say the Board adopted a $208 million College operating budget at its monthly meeting for the 2021-22 academic year that includes no tuition increase and represents a $5 million reduction in expenditures from 2020-21. Additionally, fees will also remain flat or in some cases be reduced.

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"Facing unprecedented pandemic-driven revenue losses we are committed to remain the affordable, high quality, accessible resource for Suffolk residents that we have always been," said Suffolk County Community College Board of Trustees Chair E. Christopher Murray. "We know many are unexpectedly out of work and others are looking for convenient, close-to-home options to pursue their college education. Suffolk County Community College is and will continue to be here for them."

Murray said the college faced a more than $2.5 million budget hole resulting from an enrollment decline and the resulting loss of tuition, and pandemic driven costs and reductions in state aid.

College Board of Trustees Budget and Finance Chair Kevin M. O'Connor said sound fiscal management combined with belt-tightening initiatives, as well as staff reductions through attrition, not filling vacant lines, reconfiguring course sections to be more efficient and the college's workers who voluntarily agreed to wage and benefit reductions helped ensure that Suffolk County Community College will continue to be an affordable, premier provider of higher education and workforce training.

"Freezing tuition and reducing fees are tangible manifestations of the trustees' and our county partner's commitment to our most important mission, the futures of our students," said Jim Morgo, vice chair of the Board of Trustees.

Suffolk County Community College tuition is $2,735 per semester for Suffolk County residents.

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