Connecticut state college consolidations, tuition hikes panned
HARTFORD >> An overflow crowd packed Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting to criticize a money-saving plan that calls for both tuition increases and consolidations of the state’s regional and community college system.
The board last month adopted Connecticut State Colleges and Universities President Mark Ojakian’s framework for both tuition increases and savings through administrative consolidations.
About 90,000 students attend the 17 schools in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system. Last month the Board of Regents approved a plan that increased tuition 4 percent at the four regional state universities, 2.5 percent at the 12 community colleges and 4 percent at the online Charter Oak College. It also approved a series of student fee hikes.
All told those tuition and fee increases are expected to bring in about $21 million, but that’s only about half of the college system’s projected deficit.
It is the other part of Ojakian’s plan — to consolidate operations to save $28 million — that received most of the audience’s ire at the board meeting Thursday, though many also criticized the planned tuition increases.
“The plan uses austerity measures that will detract from quality programs rather than actively investing in the public higher education institutions that are educating the future leaders of our state,” Louise Williams, history professor at Central Connecticut State University and CCSU-AAUP chapter president, said.
“The plan also fails to protect the unique missions of each of the 11 community colleges and the four regional Connecticut State university’s,” Williams said.
Speaker after speaker told the board that consolidating the colleges would take away the uniqueness of each individual college.