Congressman Tom Reed held a round table of financial aid representatives from eight Western New York colleges this morning at Finger Lakes Community College. Today's meeting follows one Reed organized with 11 Western New York college and university presidents and leaders held at Elmira College earlier this week. The forums were focused on the cost of higher education, how to make college more affordable, and the difficulty entering the job market for recent college graduates.
"Unemployment in New York is above nine percent," Reed observed. "The resulting pressure on family finances is making it more difficult for many potential students to obtain a higher education within their means," Reed observed. "Colleges are being impacted by the struggling economy much more than many realize," Reed commented. "What I heard in these meetings is that the cost of doing business for colleges -- from community colleges to major universities -- is rising rapidly. Facility maintenance, utility costs, food service costs, and regulatory and compliance costs are all negatively impacting their ability to offer an affordable college education."
"This is another reason why we need to get government out of the way and provide tax and regulatory certainty so that businesses can invest in new career opportunities," Reed continued. "This will decrease the financial pressure on families and students and allow them to better afford a higher education. Increased economic activity means that more students will have the means to go to college."
The meetings are the beginning of a long-term education initiative in Reed's office. Institutions represented at one or both of the meetings included Alfred University, Cornell University, Corning Community College, Elmira College, Finger Lakes Community College, Houghton College, Ithaca College, Monroe Community College, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Rochester, St. Bonaventure University and SUNY-Fredonia.