Association's ruling dismisses plan to consolidate CT colleges, universities

(CSCU photo)

The leader of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system is calling for the consolidation of the 12 community colleges into a single system led by a vice chancellor.

The plan, unveiled Tuesday, is expected to come with cost savings estimated at $41 million.

CSCU President Mark Ojakian is expected to present the proposal to the Board of Regents for Higher Education on Thursday.

Ojakian said savings from his plan will be invested in services that directly affect students, such as longer library hours and career services and advising. He says it also will make it easier for students to enroll in any community college or several at once with a single application.

Ojakian hopes the changes will be in place by July 1, 2019.

Faculty and staff started discussing the proposal this spring, which would allow the campuses to keep their identities and maintain unique programs, while aligning curriculum.

"They say its unprecedented, we would be the first one to actually take a system of several institutions like we have and consolidate it into one,” said Maribel La Luz, of Connecticut State College and University System.

Students would be able to register and take classes at multiple campuses, without the need to transfer credits back and forth.

All credits would count towards your GPA and your degree.

"I would like that, they should do it. I think it’s a good idea,” said Giovanni Delgado, a student at Gateway Community College.

Officials with CSCU say this should make it easier for its 56,000 students.

"If they take classes at more than one college, for example, they have to fill out more than one application, pay more than one application fee, this would allow them to have one application, one fee, one financial aid package and those are things that make a difference to students who are not just going to school, they're usually working, supporting their families," La Luz said.

The consolidation would also cut the number of administrative roles, along with combining resources when it comes to the facilities, financial aid, human resources, and IT departments.

With a potential roll out for July 2019, student Darious Cooper-Eaton says it makes sense.

"I’d like to have more choices on the classes I want to take and if they're all at one school, I know I can go to a different campus and take the classes I take here, and its easier for people who have to commute," Cooper-Eaton said.

The Board of Regents would vote on this in December.

Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.