The Word Logo


In this issue

Browse by

Past issues

Visit us online
or on Facebook


printer friendly siteFA Website Icon
February 2020


Dr. Pepper paying for college?
Dante Morelli


  SCCC students in Albany for higher ed advocacy day
Each year the FA travels to Albany for Higher Ed Advocacy Day alongside SCCC administration and SCCC students, shown above. (photo by Joan Wozniak)

Over the break, I was able to watch the college football SEC and Big Ten championship games. For me, the highlights were the halftime shows. During halftime two lucky college students were selected to participate in the Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway. The students compete against each by trying to throw as many footballs as they can into a large Dr. Pepper container. The winner, with the most balls in their respective bucket, received $100,000.

The sorry state of higher education funding is America has turned into a spectacle of The Hunger Games. Students cannot afford to attend college without taking on debt, so they look for creative ways to finance their education through these acts of humiliation.

The systematic defunding of higher education is no different in New York where students at SCCC take on nearly 54% of the college’s costs. This has created annual tuition increases while the state's and county’s portions have fallen to 24.8% and 21.4% respectively.

On Tuesday, February 4, Executive Vice President Courtney Brewer, FA activist Bruce Seger and I travelled to Albany to meet with the elected officials representing Suffolk County. We met with 15 representatives from the Assembly and the Senate. We shared our concerns about students taking on the burden of the cost and discussed how SCCC students work more on average than students at other community colleges and nationally.

        chart showing that SCCC students work more than the national average

Specifically, we asked for a $250 increase in aid per FTE student or 100% of flooring funding averaged over the last three years, whichever is greater. We also discussed that the college pays $450,000 annually in MTA taxes but we do not receive any benefit from the MTA considering the Brentwood train station is a few miles from our Grant campus.

This year’s state budget is expected to fall short by nearly $6 billion—mostly due to the rising costs of Medicaid expenditures. We ask that you please join us in continuing this important conversation with our elected officials.

Please call their office and express the importance of funding community colleges in New York. Here’s how to look up your representatives:

These requests to our elected officials take less than five minutes to express the urgency of this matter. Nowhere in the U.S. should students have to be praying for a football to land in a Dr. Pepper barrel so they can pay for college tuition.