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NCC tuition may rise $146 for 2014-15 school year

Nassau Community College students could see a $146 annual tuition hike this fall under the $216 million-plus budget proposed to the county.

A public hearing is scheduled for July 14 in the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola and could be followed by a vote of the full county legislature.

Nassau Community College's current annual tuition is $4,088. The proposed increase of more than 3.5 percent would bring it to $4,234 for the 2014-15 school year. Tuition rose last year by $98 annually.

The annual budget for 2014-15 is $216,581,000 -- an increase of 1.3 percent over the current year's budget.

"The budget is a fiscally sound plan that will allow NCC to maintain the high-quality education that it has traditionally provided to its students and from which the community at large has benefited, while at the same time recognizing the constraints that have limited our revenue growth," said Dr. Jorge Gardyn, chairman of the college's board of trustees.

The proposed budget does not include an increase in the property taxes allocated to the two-year college. Expenses are increasing primarily because of salary and benefits, according to budget documents.

"Yes, challenges remain ahead of us, which will require ingenuity and persistence to overcome," said NCC acting President Kenneth Saunders. "But I believe that the college is up to the task for the benefit of our students, their aspirations and the communities in which they live."

State aid has increased by $75 per full-time-equivalent student. Enrollment is expected to drop by 1 percent from the current year. The school, which is the state's largest single-campus community college, has about 23,000 full- and part-time students.

Earlier this year, Suffolk County Community College increased tuition by $250 for this fall, bringing the annual charges to $4,390.

A report released in June by county Comptroller George Maragos found that Nassau Community College had fallen near the bottom statewide in graduation and transfer rates as it continues a period of "prolonged administrative turmoil," including the departure of two presidents.

The report found that from 2004 to 2012, the only period for which data on the subject were available, NCC's combined graduation and transfer rate to four-year universities -- a key measure in determining student success -- plunged by more than one-third to 28 percent.

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