Community college costs drop nearly $400K for county in 2021

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 March 2022 at 3:20 pm

Orleans won’t ask towns to chip in after expenses fall below $2,050,000

Photo by Tom Rivers: Genesee Community College is shown at the main campus in Batavia in this photo from Feb. 13, 2018.

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature put towns on notice for 2021 that the county wouldn’t keep absorbing the full costs for climbing community college charge-backs.

The Legislature in October 2020 voted to cap the county’s share of the charge-backs to $2,050,000. Anything beyond that would be passed to the towns in the county.

The county started the new policy in 2021 but the towns won’t be getting a bill from the county to help with community college expenses. That’s because the cost dropped nearly$400,000.

In 2020, the county was billed $2,214,515 for charge-backs to the home county of a community college student.

In 2021, the cost decreased to $1,839,535, a drop of $374,980.

Community colleges were supposed to be funded with the state paying a third, the student paying a third, and the local town/county covering the other third.

But the state has pulled back on its contribution, putting more pressure on students and local municipalities, Lynne Johnson, the County Legislature chairwoman, said when the county capped its contribution at $2,050,000 on Oct. 27, 2020.

The charge-backs to the county topped $2,050,000 in other recent years. It was $2,086,538 in 2018 and $2,188,769 in 2019, County Treasurer Kim DeFrank said.

She said there was a decline in community college enrollment by county residents last year, resulting in less expense to the county.

If the cost goes over $2,050,000 in 2022, the town share will be based on credit hours of residents in those towns.

Most community college students from Orleans go to Genesee Community College. But Orleans County has paid towards local students who attend other community colleges in the state, and some are far more costly than GCC, including the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.