Tuition increase expected at 17 CT state colleges and universiti - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Tuition increase expected at 17 CT state colleges and universities

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Eyewitness News has learned that there will be a tuition increase this fall at four state universities, 12 community colleges and Charter Oak State College.

All 17 campuses for the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system will be affected by the tuition increase. 

“I have said consistently that our budget will not be balanced on the backs of our students. If we relied on tuition to break even, an increase of more than 7 percent at our universities and almost 11 percent at our community colleges would be necessary,” said President of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities Mark E. Ojakian. “While this increase does not close our projected deficit, I believe it is fair given our current fiscal environment. It allows our schools to remain accessible and not burden students with crippling debt upon graduation.”

He said the CSCU budget deficit is about $18 million, and much of that comes from the state cutting their funding.

The proposed increases include 5 percent ($480) for the universities, 3.5 percent ($141) for community colleges and 4 percent ($347) for Charter Oak State College.

The Board of Regents Finance Committee will meet on March 28 to discuss the increases. It will then vote on the proposal the following day during another meeting.

If approved, the 5 percent increase will take effect at Southern Connecticut State University, and other campuses, this year. 

The news of tuition increase comes a day after a temporary hiring freeze was announced at those same schools.

“These spending control measures are necessary given our projected shortfall for the current fiscal year and the financial pressures being exerted on all CSCU institutions,” Ojakian said on Tuesday. "We are going to have to change the way we do business because the financial situation of the state is not going to improve. The projected deficits are expected to increase over the next couple of years."

On Tuesday, Ojakian told Eyewitness News there would be discussion next week about raising tuition, but that plan will not be to make up for budget cuts with higher tuition costs. 

Four state universities, 12 community colleges and Charter Oak State College are part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system. Central Connecticut State University, Eastern Connecticut State University, Western Connecticut State University and Southern Connecticut State University are part of that system, however, the University of Connecticut is not.

"It would be awesome if they could grandfather us in for us who have been here, like juniors and seniors. We've been here four years, help us out a little bit," said Anthony Pohorilak, who is a college student.

Since 2002, the cost for an education has doubled.

"There are a lot of families who have two or three jobs and its just getting tougher and tougher to make ends meet," said State Senator John Kissel.

"Five percent isn't that much if you think about it in the long run but if you look at it, 5 percent of $20,000, which it costs to live on campus, that's still a decent amount of money," said Tyler Pelliccio, who is a junior at SCSU.

In a statement, Michael Jordan-Reilly, Manchester Community College spokesperson, said "We at MCC continue to be sensitive to the impact on our students of the increasing costs of higher education. The college remains committed to exploring ways to build on the methods of assistance currently in place to help students manage this reality, succeed in their programs here, and graduate or transfer with no debt."

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