Tuition hikes approved for CSCU students

- FILE - Manchester Community College (Image: ManchesterCC.edu)

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s happening once again, tuition hikes are now in place for the next two years, affecting 85,000 students at state universities and community colleges. The tuition increase is expected to generate about $14 million to help trim a $35 million budget deficit within the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities.

“We have to face reality,” said CSCU President Mark Ojakian, at the Board of Regents meeting Thursday morning at Eastern Connecticut State University.

The reality is a $35 million budget deficit facing CSCU, forcing tough decisions by the Board of Regents at their Thursday meeting.

The next two years will see identical tuition increases. State universities will see four percent increases, $403 extra per year, per student. Community colleges will see increases of 2.5 percent, an extra $104 per year, per student.

“Yeah, it’s an incredibly tough decision to make,” said Holly Palmer, a student at Charter Oak State College and chair of the Student Advisory Committee.

As chair, Palmer gets a vote with the Regents. She voted in favor of the tuition increase Thursday. She’s no fan of tuition increases, but said it’s better than cutting services.

“Because of some of the cuts in student services in previous years, we felt like additional cuts in those areas would be really detrimental to students continuing their education,” Palmer said.

Joe Young is a student at Capital Community College, and vice-chair on the advisory committee. He voted no to tuition hikes

“I didn’t think it was the right thing to do for the students throughout the system,” Young said.

It doesn’t stop with tuition hikes. Back office operations will also be streamlined at the universities. Administrative services will be consolidated within the community college system. At this point, campuses will not close.

“Nothing in my proposed strategy closes campuses,” Ojakian said. “I firmly believe that we need to continue to have the same level of access we currently have.”

Details on the back office consolidation efforts aren’t final yet. Plans are to form what’s called an implementation team, to hammer out specifics on how to trim that $35 million deficit.

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