Board of Regents approves college tuition hike - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Board of Regents approves college tuition hike

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The Board of Regents approved a 5 percent tuition hike for the CSCU system. (WFSB photo) The Board of Regents approved a 5 percent tuition hike for the CSCU system. (WFSB photo)

State college and university students, and their families, will feel the impact of a tuition increase with some far-reaching implications.

The Board of Regents for the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system approved hikes on Tuesday that will impact some 90,000 students.

Though it didn't sway the board, students and parents got one more chance to speak up during a hearing before the call is made.

The hikes may not even be the worst of it.

“We are going to have to change the way we do business because the financial situation of the state is not going to improve," said Mark Ojakian, CSCU president. "The projected deficits are expected to increase over the next couple of years.”

Ojakian said the state's dire financial situation is leading to the 5 percent rise in tuition. He said they are getting $26 million less from the state.

The increase amounts to $480 per year more for a university student and about $14 per year more for a community college student.

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

Ojakian said the state's budget deficit of $18 million mainly comes from the drop in state funding. There could have been cuts to the jobs of advisers or other positions, but administrators chose to leave educational programs alone.

He added that they have canceled salary increases and there's a hiring freeze to help balance this year's budget.

The increase also comes on the heals of steady tuition hikes. Since 2002, the cost for an education has doubled across Connecticut.

“There are a lot of families, [people with] two or three jobs," said Sen. John Kissel of Enfield. "[It's] just getting tougher and tougher to make ends meet.”

One board member voted down the increase.

"We are opposed to any increase --- we want to find another way to fund our education and protect the future of Connecticut and not leave any students without an opportunity to get an education," said Gordon Plouffe, who sits on the Board of Regents.

Many who attend community colleges are part-time and non-traditional students.

"There are 12 presidents at the community colleges ---do we really need 12 presidents? There are 60-something deans, and associate deans at these community colleges, do we need that many people," said Diba Khan-Bereau, who is a community college professor.

Students said it's getting harder to get an education, especially those from low-income families.

"You're making it hard for us to succeed in this world --- just making a living for ourselves and establish ourselves well," said Geoffrey Canales.

"Every year they try to raise the tuition and every year the students try and fight it and its getting to the point where there's nothing we can do," said Nathan Cheatham, a CCSU student.

The CSCU system includes 17 schools, including Central, Eastern, Western and Southern Connecticut state universities. The tuition increase will take effect in the fall semester this year.

The board's tuition meeting was scheduled for 10 a.m. at Manchester Community College.

A public session was part of it.

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