OSWEGO COUNTY — Oswego County and other counties throughout the state have been on the hook for thousands of dollars in community college payments because of a law passed by the state Legislature in the 1990s.
And Oswego County is so fed up with the issue that it is sending a bill to the State University of New York to be reimbursed for these payments.
The law passed years ago states counties pay a portion of the tuition for its resident students who attend community colleges. For each Oswego County resident attending a community college anywhere in the state, Oswego County pays for part of the tuition cost.
But included in the law was payments to be made for tuition for students attending the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Even though FIT is a four-year college, counties make payments for each student from its county attending FIT.
But the law passed by the state Legislature also states: “on or before March 31, 1995 and every year thereafter, the state shall reimburse each county which has issued a certificate of residence for any non-resident student in attendance at the Fashion Institute of Technology.” The bill also states the reimbursement amount will be 50 percent in 1993 and 1994 and 100 percent for each following year.
The state has not reimbursed Oswego County at all since the law was passed. This amounts to about $800,000.
For just 2018, this comes to $81,724.
Counties do not receive reimbursements for payments they make for their students who attend other community colleges such as Cayuga Community College, Jefferson Community College or Onondaga Community College.
“We are going to send the state a bill,” said County Administrator Philip Church at a recent Legislature committee meeting. “They were supposed to be reimbursing us since 1993.”
Church said SUNY has been questioned numerous times by counties about why they aren’t getting this money — especially since the law passed by the state Legislature says counties will be reimbursed. He said SUNY always says the Legislature hasn’t put money in the state budget for the reimbursements.
SUNY officials did not return phone calls and emails to them requesting comment on this issue.