(Long Island, NY) The cost of obtaining a higher education is already too high for many students and their families. It is frustrating that rather than working to make education more affordable, Suffolk County Community College has increased tuition for full-time students by $180 and will now require a $200 mandatory meal plan fee for 12,000 students on select campuses. This misguided plan will be hastily implemented in September, and to the dismay of many, isn’t optional.
The Armark Education Services LLC, a company which already provides services to 2,200 schools nationwide, will now receive financial support from hard-working students in our community for food service that many didn’t even ask for.
Many affiliated with the college thought this plan would receive positive feedback; however, I, and others, find it to be a reprehensible decision that will burden our students. Community colleges should be an affordable higher education option for students of all demographics. By tacking on these absurd, unwanted fees, they have overlooked the financial standing of many. Students should not be forced to pay for a service that they may not utilize for a variety of reasons. Some may abstain due to specific dietary or religious reasons, while others would opt-out simply because they commute to and from school and intend to save on frivolous spending. This should be an option for those interested in a meal plan, but not mandatory so that all students are forced to subsidize these services.
I believe the implementation of this plan is wrong and puts many students at a disadvantage. The college environment should focus on ways to better provide an education to its students, not the revenue brought in through franchise corporations. I am appealing to the SUNY Chancellor to put an end to this ill-conceived plan immediately, and am asking the attorney general to investigate the legality of the arrangement between the school and vendor.