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SUNY enrollment has grown, but some North Country schools are still shrinking

SUNY Potsdam. Photo: Julia Ritchey
SUNY Potsdam. Photo: Julia Ritchey

Governor Kathy Hochul announced an increase in enrollment at New York's state universities and community colleges on Wednesday. Across the SUNY system, the total number of students grew by 1.1% from fall 2022 to fall 2023. That change marks the first time in a decade that enrollment has gone up instead of going down.

Some SUNY schools in the North Country have grown, too, but others are still shrinking.

SUNY Potsdam's enrollment jumped by 3%, and SUNY Canton's by 1.3%, according to data from the SUNY chancellor's office.

Enrollment also increased at SUNY Adirondack in Glens Falls, North Country Community College in Saranac Lake, and Clinton Community College in Plattsburgh.

But some North Country SUNY schools are still getting smaller, including SUNY Plattsburgh, Jefferson Community College in Watertown, and Herkimer College.

Declining enrollment has been a major driver of financial problems at campuses statewide. SUNY Potsdam is facing a $9 million structural deficit and is planning to cut at least nine degree programs.

Jefferson Community College is in the middle of a process to downsize its staff to adjust to the new reality of a smaller student body.