Students at Suffolk County Community College will face a tuition increase of $250 this fall, bringing the annual charges to $4,390 at the two-year school.
The tuition hike is part of the $208.4 million 2014-15 operating budget that college trustees sent to county officials Friday.
The increase comes even though the Bellone administration agreed after two days of talks with college officials to a 2 percent increase in the county share of college costs -- or $780,000. College trustees, in the budget vote Thursday night, also included a one-shot use of $4.3 million from the college's $24.9 million reserve fund to keep tuition from rising further.
"Two hundred and fifty dollars may not sound like much unless you don't have it," said trustee Jim Morgo, head of the trustee budget committee, noting the college's mission is to provide affordable education where many students come from "very challenging economic backgrounds."
College officials blamed the increased tuition on the state, which increased operating aid for each full-time student by only $75. College presidents had sought $250 and the State Senate had proposed $125. The Assembly, which had sought a $50 increase, compromised with the Senate on $75, to make the per student aid $2,497. In all, the state share is 25.9 percent of college costs.
County aid has remained flat over the past six years with just a 1% increase in aid to SCCC in that time frame, another contributing factor to the cost of SCCC tuition going up next year.
Tax breaks for rich people, tuition hikes for community college students - that should be an Andrew Cuomo campaign ad.
The Assembly and Senate are to blame too.
But this is Cuomo's budget, the one he's bragging about every chance he gets, so the buck and the responsibility for it lie with him.