College News: C-GCC President says Community Colleges Underfunded by State

By Tiffany Greenwaldt-Simon, Columbia-Greene Media, Jan 5, 2024

Professional Academic Center building on the CGCC campus

CATSKILL — Funding issues confront community colleges across the state, the president of Columbia-Greene Community College told county lawmakers Wednesday.

“Community colleges continue to be underfunded by the state,” C-GCC president Carlee Drummer said at the County Resources Committee meeting.

Drummer said funding is supposed to be split three ways, with counties, New York state and student tuition each paying a third of the total share to fund community colleges.

She said Greene County and Columbia County have allowed the college to maintain its funding from the counties’ share.

“We are so grateful to Greene County for your support of our budget every year, you and Columbia County have allowed us to maintain on the county side almost a third of what it should be,” she said.

New York state accounted for 14% of the colleges funding in 2023, according to Drummer.

Drummer said the community college sector would be asking the state for additional money to be added to the funding floor.

“We’re asking for an additional $97 million to be added to the funding floor,” she said. “That will give us an extra $500 per student to support our educational programs,” she said.

Drummer said the state gives community colleges $428 million per year, compared to the counties’ $525 million contribution.

“We did some research and discovered that the funding we’re receiving basically stands at where we were in 2008, which was 16 years ago,” she said.

Drummer encouraged county lawmakers to contact their state representatives to get more support for community colleges.
Legislator Matthew Luvera, R-Catskill, said the legislature should consider a resolution directed at elected officials to support community colleges.

“Greene County and Columbia County are holding our end of the bargain; what’s wrong with the state? They can’t balance their budget to come up with their piece?” Luvera said.

Drummer said Columbia-Greene had a “wonderful” fall semester.

“The students are in a very different place than they were a year ago,” she said. “It was wonderful to hear the halls teeming with laughter and excitement again.”

She also updated the legislature on the new programs the college would be offering, including a licensed practical nursing certificate planned to begin in 2025.

Legislator Sherry True, R-Cairo, commended C-GCC for its growth through the years.

“I know how much work it took,” she said. “I went to school there in ’79 and graduated. There’s so much that can be said about all of the programs that are there now that weren’t there before. I know how hard the work is, so I just want to say thank you for all the hard work that you guys put in, because it does matter to our students.”