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Louis Petrizzo

The Selden campus of Suffolk County Community College. File photo

For the second consecutive year, Suffolk County Community College’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to freeze tuition at the State University of New York’s largest community college, citing the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and strain it has put on students, their families, and finances. The announcement was made in a press release on April 15.

The Board adopted a $208 million College operating budget at its monthly meeting for the 2021-22 academic year that includes no tuition increase and represents a $5 million reduction in expenditures from 2020-21. Additionally, fees will also remain flat or in some cases be reduced.

“By freezing tuition and fees, we are not only prioritizing students, but working to ensure cost is not a barrier to receiving a quality and affordable education,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone in reaction to the Board’s vote.

“Facing unprecedented pandemic-driven revenue losses we are committed to remain the affordable, high quality, accessible resource for Suffolk residents that we have always been,” said Suffolk County Community College Board of Trustees Chair E. Christopher Murray.  We know many are unexpectedly out of work and others are looking for convenient, close-to-home options to pursue their college education. Suffolk County Community College is and will continue to be here for them,” Murray said.

Murray said the College faced a more than $2.5 million budget hole resulting from an enrollment decline and the resulting loss of tuition, and pandemic driven costs and reductions in state aid.

College Board of Trustees Budget and Finance Chair Kevin M. O’Connor said sound fiscal management combined with belt-tightening initiatives, as well as staff reductions through attrition, not filling vacant lines, reconfiguring course sections to be more efficient and the College’s workers who voluntarily agreed to wage and benefit reductions helped ensure that Suffolk County Community College will continue to be an affordable, premier provider of higher education and workforce training.

“Freezing tuition and reducing fees are tangible manifestations of the trustees’ and our county partner’s commitment to our most important mission, the futures of our students,” said Jim Morgo, vice chair of the Board of Trustees.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Suffolk students particularly hard,” O’Connor said. “The Board of Trustees recognizes that we cannot ask our students and their families to shoulder a greater share of the burden during this tough time. Suffolk County Community College is the most affordable, accessible option to get a great education – and the Board intends to keep it that way.”

“Suffolk County Community College is a beacon of opportunity for many students who have few options when it comes to higher education” said Suffolk County Community College Interim President Louis Petrizzo. “By their actions today, our Board has ensured that a door to opportunity and advancement remains open and affordable for thousands of students.”

Suffolk County Community College tuition is $2,735 per semester for Suffolk County residents.

Suffolk County Community College accepted the donation of a 2020 Volkswagen Atlas to its Automotive Technology Program on Sept. 16 as part of Volkswagen’s Drive Bigger initiative. Volkswagen and local dealers are donating vehicles to universities, colleges, and technical and trade schools to develop future Volkswagen-trained automotive technicians.

New York State Assemblyman Douglas Smith, whose district includes Suffolk’s Ammerman Campus, presented certificates of recognition to the assembled Volkswagen dealer and corporate representatives as a thank you for the generous donation.

Photo from SCCC

Suffolk County Community College Interim President Louis Petrizzo thanked the Volkswagen executives for this donation to Suffolk’s program and explained that the College “… is very much aware of industry needs for automotive workers. We are proud of the technicians we produce. They are professionals that are not only going to be skilled auto technicians, but also have the ability and talent to move into supervisory and management positions,” Petrizzo said. “Our students, importantly, are also taught communication and soft skills that we know are important to the industry.”

“We are extremely fortunate to have strong support from our local area dealerships and manufacturer partners. The support they provide allows us to provide quality automotive education for our students resulting in a prepared workforce for their businesses,” said Automotive Technology Academic Chair David Macholz.

NYS Assemblyman Doug Smith, at left, tours Suffolk County Community College’s Automotive Technology facility in Selden on Sept. 16.

“These vehicles will be essential in assisting the next generation of Volkswagen technicians to interact with and learn the latest technology that is part of our exciting model lineup” said John Peterson, Director of Fixed Operations. “At Volkswagen we strongly believe in investing in the next generation and with our growing model lineup, it’s critical we give young technicians the opportunity to be hands on with our vehicles to help ensure we continue to deliver a high level of customer satisfaction in the future.”

Pictured in top photo, from right, Michael Siegel, Dealer Principal Legend VW; Dan Anderson, VW of America; Fixed Operation Manager Northeast Region; Louis Petrizzo, Interim President Suffolk County Community College; Dave Macholz, Academic Chair, Suffolk Automotive Technology; Ed Merman, Smithtown Volkswagen Service Manager; Bill Moran, Donaldson’s Volkswagen Service Director; Suzanne Cochrane, Bayside Volkswagen General Manager; John Peterson, VW of America Director of Fixed Operations Northeast Region;  Joe Romano, Service Manager, West Islip VW.

Suffolk County Community College’s Automotive Technology program is an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Education Foundation certified course of study that is designed to prepare students for employment as automobile technicians and is intended for those seeking careers as employees of automotive service facilities.

All programs have academic as well as automotive classes that fulfill requirements to obtain an A.A.S. degree. Suffolk’s program is also the only at a northeast college to offer the state-of-the-art Tesla START technician training program.