CSCU holds special meeting on 'Students First' consolidation pla - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CSCU holds special meeting on 'Students First' consolidation plan

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(CSCU photo) (CSCU photo)

What happens next for Connecticut state colleges and universities is unclear.

The president of CSCU maintains they're on the right path towards becoming a singly-accredited college in the future.

"I’m taking the lessons of the past and I’m moving forward," said Mark Ojakian, President of CSCU.

Ojakian says he's more determined than ever to protect higher education.

Despite facing a financial collapse, Ojakian hopes to do that without shutting locations or dramatically raising tuition.

"I’m in your corner, I continue to work to make sure you can afford to go to school, you have the same locations to go to school, and that you can achieve your dream of a college education,” said Ojakian.

 Ojakian met with the Board of Regents Executive Committee on Friday to discuss the 'Students First' community college consolidation plan.

"We were surprised by the determination that our plan should shift from one accreditation process to another,” said Matt Fleury, Board of Regents Chairman.

A Regional Accreditation Commission rejected Ojakian's plan to consolidate its 12 individually accredited Connecticut community colleges into one main college with different campuses.

Instead, the commission is recommending they consider candidacy for accreditation, which is a new process that will take another five years.

Ojakian maintains they don't have that kind of time.

"I’m still committed to presenting to the board a plan to move to a singly-accredited college in the future. They clearly indicated they didn't say no, just wanted to proceed down a different path, and it might take a little longer, but I still think it's the right step forward,” Ojakian said.

Students Channel 3 spoke with say it's scary.

“Not knowing what's going to happen to our school, to Manchester Community College, every other college,” said Natasha Hawes, a student at Capital Community College.

They're hoping Ojakian stays true to his word and delivers on his promise to keep costs down.

"I don't want tuition to go up, I don't want financial aid to go up,” Hawes said.

There will likely be more discussion and potentially some proposed recommendations at the Board of Regents regularly scheduled meeting next Thursday.

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