Tuition increase given the nod by college system’s finance panel

The Board of Regents’ Finance Committee has approved a plan to increase tuition and fees at the state’s public universities by 5.1 percent and community colleges by 5.3 percent.

The increase, if approved by the full governing board during a meeting next Thursday, means students will be required to pay up to $465 more in tuition and fees at the four state universities, Eastern, Western, Central and Southern state universities. For students living on campus, the cost will increase up to $999.

tuition and fees

At the community colleges, the cost would increase by $188 to $3,360 a year for tuition and fees for full-time students.

“We are trying to be sensitive to the impact tuition increases will have… We are concerned about the impact,” Gary Holloway, chairman of the Finance Committee, said before the panel unanimously adopted the tuition plan. “This is a very difficult issue for us.”

Board member Richard Balducci said that while no one likes to see tuition increase, “I think this is a reasonable request.”

Connecticut’s tuition costs at its public four-year universities are among the highest in the nation for the current school year, the College Board reports. However, tuition has increased at a much smaller rate over the last five years.

The finance panel had been considering a proposal to lower the cost for out-of-state students by 2.6 percent in an effort to attract more students as enrollment declines at the institutions. That proposal was rescinded and the panel approved instead increased tuition and fees by 4.6 percent for out-of-state students, a $907 increase for students not living on campus and $1,251 more for students living on campus.

Also included in the plan is a list of “risk factors” that still will face the 93,000-student college system next school year. Those risks include declining enrollments, mid-year funding cuts from the state, the inability to keep vacant positions open and retirement and health benefits costing more than expected.

Students at the state universities have been rallying against these increases at the state colleges this week and say they plan to continue that effort at the full board meeting next Thursday.