Wrapping up their visit to Washington Monday, Gov. Dannel Malloy and dozens of other governors received an earful from President Obama about their cuts to education.
“I realize that everybody is dealing with limited resources,” Obama said, according to White House releases and pool reports. “But there’s no excuse to lose sight of what matters most. And the fact is that too many states are making cuts to education that I believe are simply too big.”
While much of his talk to the governors concerned kindergarten through 12th grade education, Obama also complained that 40 states have cut funding for four-year and community colleges.
Connecticut is one of those states. Malloy’s budget proposal for the fiscal year that starts July 1 would appropriate nearly $60 million less for public colleges and universities than was spent in 2010-11. That would be a 10.8 percent reduction over the course of two fiscal years.
Malloy acknowledged that state grants to Connecticut’s colleges are down, but said, “We’re in pretty good shape.”
Some students may think differently. Tuition at many Connecticut colleges was increased this year to help make up for budget shortfalls.
The University of Connecticut is one of those schools. But Malloy said it is still a bargain.
“The University of Connecticut has the second-lowest tuition in New England, second only to the University of Maine,” Malloy said.
Obama repeated a pledge to pull federal dollars from schools with tuition increases that are higher than the rate of inflation.
“We can’t just keep on, at the federal level, subsidizing skyrocketing tuition,” the president said.
During one of his trips to the White House this weekend as part of the National Governors Association’s winter meeting, Malloy invited the president to Connecticut. The governor said he’s optimistic that Obama will accept the invitation.
Malloy also met with a number of administration official. He renewed a request to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for millions of dollars to set up an insurance exchange, a requirement of the Affordable Care Act.
Malloy also asked Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for money to help implement its education reforms — and he informed Duncan that Connecticut will soon request a waiver of No Child Left Behind requirements.