On March 22, former Chief of Staff to Gov. Dannel Malloy and current Board of Regents President Mark E. Ojakian stated, “I have consistently said I am not going balance the state’s financial burden on the back of our students.”

On March 23, he is asking for a painful 5 percent increase in tuition costs for the 88,000 students in two- and four-year programs at State Universities and Community Colleges.

Of note: UConn is not included in this proposal as it has already asked for a staggering and unaffordable 31 percent increase in tuition costs for its students.

This is being discussed while students are out on spring break instead of waiting for them to return so they have a voice in the proceedings.

Taken alone, a 5 percent increase in tuition would not be so obscene, but if we look back to the cost of attending a four-year college or university in 2008, we see that the tuition for them has increased 51 percent in just 10 short years.

We know that the best way to close our income gap is the attainment of a higher education degree. As such, access to higher education for middle and low-income residents is the key in their ability to climb the economic ladder to close that gap.

It is not only the students who are negatively affected by this increase, but also the students’ parents; many of whom struggle to help their children pay for college.

The failure to control costs that has led to this tuition increase is directly affecting our families who are trying to achieve the American Dream.

State Sen. Toni Boucher is a Republican from Wilton who represents the 26th State Senate District.

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