CT community colleges shrink, squeezing budgets

Norwalk Community College

CTMirror.org file photo

Norwalk Community College

Connecticut’s community colleges continue to shrink.

With 2,393 fewer students than last fall – a 4.6 percent drop – members of the school system’s governing board were told Thursday the schools’ budgets would have to shrink as well.

“We aren’t filling positions,” said Erika Steiner, budget chief for the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system, which includes the 12 community colleges, the four regional Connecticut State universities and the online Charter Oak College.

The four regional universities enrolled 456 fewer students, a 1 percent dip.

All together, the enrollment declines translate into $15.2 million in red ink for the state’s largest public college system.

The system office was able to close this mid-year budget gap by cutting spending at the community colleges by $9.5 million and the state universities by $5.3 million. Most of the savings was achieved by spending less on full-time staff than the Board of Regents had previously budgeted.

These cuts come on top of $34.5 million in reductions that college leaders already approved for the current fiscal year.

During an interview, Steiner was unable to say whether the nearly $15 million in cuts have affected class sizes or services available to students on campus.

To see details of the cuts at specific schools, click here.

About Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline won two first prizes from the national Education Writers Association for her work in 2012 – one in beat reporting for her overall education coverage, and the other, with Keith Phaneuf, in investigative reporting on a series of stories revealing questionable monetary and personnel actions taken by the Board of Regents for Higher Education. Before coming to The Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.'s Maryland newspaper chains. She has also worked for Congressional Quarterly and the Toledo Free Press. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Jacqueline is in the public policy master’s program at Trinity College. E-mail her at jrabe@ctmirror.org.