UConn trustees approve tuition hike, but trim administration’s request

University of Connecticut undergraduates will face a 5.4 percent increase in tuition and fees next fall, university trustees decided Thursday after hearing a mixed message from students and faculty.

The $530 increase, which brings total tuition and fees to $10,416, is slightly less than the 5.8 percent hike UConn officials had proposed a week ago.

The board also said it is seeking a consultant to conduct a financial review in an effort to hold down costs in the face of the state’s budget crisis. State support for Connecticut’s flagship university has remained flat, putting pressure on the university to raise tuition sharply. Officials have warned that even with a similar tuition increase next year, UConn could face a $20 million to $40 million deficit.

“We must find structural changes not only to reduce the growth of costs . . . but we must reduce costs in absolute terms as well,” said Peter S. Drotch, chairman of the trustees’ Financial Affairs Committee.

Some students asked the board to hold tuition increases to a minimum while others called for larger increases in order to preserve programs and avoid cuts in academic and other programs.

“The stories are very compelling,” Drotch said. “The range of views of students is no different than the range of views of trustees.”