Emmalee French came to Onondaga Community College with a dream. As a member of Oswego High School's class of 2020, she wanted to earn a college degree for an in-demand job so she could return to her hometown and live and work in the community she grew up in and loved. Last month she earned her Electrical Technology degree from OCC and walked into a full-time job as an Electrical Technician at Novelis in Oswego. And she did all of it without going into debt.
Dreams - not debt - are why students of all ages go to college. Like Emmalee French, New Yorkers go to college to achieve their goals, whether earning an associate degree for an in-demand job, learning new ckills to change careers, or pursuing a bachelor's degree, master's degree, of Ph.D. That's exactly what SUNY's 30 community colleges across New York, including Onondaga Community College here in Central New York, are designed for.
At a time when student loan debt is rising across the country, nearly two-thirds of SUNY community college associate degree graduates have zero student loan debt. That means they leave our campus with no student debt, but have an accredited SUNY degree and a pathway to an in-demand job or guaranteed transfer to a bachelor's degree at another SUNY institution. Simply put, community college is the most affordable way to earn a college degree, no matter how far you want to go.
Here at OCC, we understand how severely impacted people were by the pandemic. That's why our Board of Trustees voted to freeze tuition and fees for the 2021-22 academic year. In the fall our full-time tuition will be $2,545, the same as it was last year.
New York State is rebounding and rebuilding after the turbulence of the COVID-19 pandemic. This means job opportunities in many industries will return to full vitality and new, future-looking jobs will be created. With deep ties to their communities and regions, SUNY community colleges can help you (or someone in your family) seize this moment - and make education work around a busy life, with flexible on-campus and online associate degree programs for full-time or part-time students.
Now is the time to consider your future and how higher education can get you there, whether you're a high school senior eager to pursue your dreams or a working parent looking for a new direction.
To help raise awareness this summer, our proud alumni like Emmalee French are sharing their stories in SUNY's #CommunityCollegeGotMeHere campaign. I encourage you to check them out, reach out to us at suny.edu/communitycollege, and learn about all the places Onondaga Community College can take you.
John P. Sindoni, Esq., Chair, OCC Board of Trustees
Melanie Littlejohn, Vice Chair, OCC Board of Trustees