Erie Community College's finances are looking good and the school is trying to help its students get through with cheaper approaches to textbooks. That was the message from the college to the Erie County Control Board Thursday.
ECC President and CEO Dan Hocoy spent 45 minutes walking the Control Board through the college's status. He told the board the college has a new budget for next year that is balanced without requiring any infusion from reserves and without raising student tuition for a second year in a row.
Working with faculty, the college has also developed a program to hold down the cost of textbooks.
"To provide courses with what we're calling AIM, Affordable Instructional Materials, meaning it will cost less than $35 per course," he said. "So we live in the information age, so much of the information is available online and they don't have to pay for textbooks, which could be in the thousands."
Hocoy said the frozen tuition makes a difference.
"For the second year in a row, we're keeping tuition and fees flat," he said. "So we're committed to holding the line on costs within the college, so that our students - many of whom struggle to make ends meet - don't have to pay more out of pocket to fund their education."
Hocoy said that cost is really important since the typical ECC student is 27 years old and works 30 hours a week. It is not unusual for these working adults to drop out for a while to smooth their finances and then come back to school.
"The traditional student is thought of someone in their late teens, early 20s," Hocoy said. "We have a more mature student. The demographics change from campus to campus."
The college president said the school is also continuing to expand its programs to train workers for the job market, like its highly successful program to train car repair people.