CSCU President, Mark Ojakian, and Richard J. Balducci, chairman of the finance committee for the Board of Regents for Higher Education, consider a 5 percent tuition increase for the state universities.
CSCU President, Mark Ojakian, and Richard J. Balducci, chairman of the finance committee for the Board of Regents for Higher Education, consider a 5 percent tuition increase for the state universities. Kathleen Megan / CT Mirror
CSCU President, Mark Ojakian, and Richard J. Balducci, chairman of the finance committee for the Board of Regents for Higher Education, consider a 5 percent tuition increase for the state universities.
CSCU President, Mark Ojakian, and Richard J. Balducci, chairman of the finance committee for the Board of Regents for Higher Education, discuss a 5 percent tuition increase for the state universities. Kathleen Megan / CT Mirror

Students at the state’s four regional universities will likely pay 5 percent more in tuition next year, but it’s still unclear how much more students at the state’s community colleges will be charged.

The Board of Regents for Higher Education’s finance committee voted Wednesday in favor of a proposal to increase tuition at the state universities, but held off making a decision about the community colleges in case additional state funds become available.

“I want to take a little more time to gauge the legislative interest in additional funding,” for the community colleges, said Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities. “The community colleges are in a much more precarious position financially.”

The full board will vote on the proposed increase for the state universities at its March 28 meeting.

Ojakian said the state universities need to know their tuition rates for next year because they are assembling financial aid packages for the 2019-2010 school year now, but he can hold off on the community colleges because students generally enroll later in the year.

Ojakian expects that his staff will have a proposed tuition increase for the community colleges next month. Community college students paid 2.5 percent more in tuition this year compared to last year.

The regents also voted for a 2.9 percent tuition increase for the state’s on-line college, Charter Oak State College.

With a tuition increase proposed for the state universities, coupled with increases in fees, room and board, an in-state student who lives in a dorm at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain would pay $804 more next year to attend college. This year, that student pays $22,791 in tuition, fees and room and board. A commuting student who lives in Connecticut would pay $452 more next year to attend Central.

The costs are a bit higher at the other three universities, with the highest at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, where in-state residential students will pay $899 more next year, including fees and room and board.

“It continues to be the mission of this board and of myself that we ensure that the university remain the most affordable and accessible option to obtaining a four-year degree in the state of Connecticut,” Ojakian said. “I’ve always said tuition (increases) needed to be considered as a last resort and that I want to assure everyone that we’ve done everything possible to make sure the increase is as manageable as possible for our students.”

The financially troubled Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, which includes the four state universities and 12 community colleges, would face a $57 million shortfall next year if tuition and the state investment in the system stays flat.

Last month, Gov. Ned Lamont proposed a budget that included essentially flat-funding for the CSCU system.

“We are asking students to invest a little more in their education.”

CSCU President Mark Ojakian

If CSCU were to attempt to balance the budget just on the backs of the students, Ojakian said, its state university students would be facing a tuition increase of 12 percent.

“We are asking students to invest a little more in their education,” Ojakian said. He estimates it’s about $40 more a month for in-state commuter students and a little more than $70 extra a month for residential students.

The percentage increase for state university students is less than the increase that will be paid by UConn students. As part of the last year of a four-year schedule of tuition increases, UConn students will face a 7.3 percent increase in tuition next year.

However, if fees are included, that percentage increase jumps to 9.5 percent. That’s because students next year have to pay a $500 fee for the school’s $100 million recreation center, which is scheduled to open in September.

Students are expected to pay that fee each year for the next 30 years.

Kathleen Megan wrote for more than three decades for the Hartford Courant, covering education in recent years and winning many regional and national awards. She is now covering education and child welfare issues for the Mirror.

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5 Comments

  1. Where is the concern that CT’s public funded colleges are not well focused on the hi-tech computer skills commonly offered in Mass and NY public funded colleges. CT lacks modern hi-tech industries and firms oft comment on the lack of well qualified CT hi-tech college grads in these areas.

  2. This is what you get when you embrace a political group built upon progressive ideals. First, they promote waste and inefficiency within education, then they profit off the student loans that fund it, and finally they raise the cost of tuition to fund their folly. Only in the State of Connecticut!

  3. Tuition increase is inevitable. However, the CSCU System should be accountable to the students and demonstrate how and where the additional tuition revenue will be allocated on each campus. The funds should only be distributed to services that support student academic achievement. Funds should not be reallocated to collective bargaining agreements to compensate staff, faculty or others.

  4. Soon it will be a better move for kids to invest the money college would have cost and get a job at McDonalds. College costs are out of control and the poster boy for why is
    Mark Ojakian and his obscene $350K salary – Bloated payrolls full of useless administrators handed jobs as political favors.

    1. Reportedly most US college grads do not secure meaningful employment upon graduation that uses their primary skills sets. But they do typically graduate with awesome debt outlays. Eventually college students and their families will better focus on the college “value proposition”.

      The opposite is true for students graduating with hi-tech computer, science, engineering and math skills. Jobs reportedly are plentiful. These students do not complain about their college deficits incurred for access to good jobs upon graduation.

      The larger question is how do we encourage CT’s public colleges to focus on training students for the hi-tech computer world offering good jobs when most CT public college faculty are not hi-tech. And have tenure jobs guaranteeing their employment teaching subjects with little or no market jobs relevance.

      That’s really the ultimate “public Union question” for CT colleges dependent on public funding. Private colleges are far more sensitive to matching factuality expertise with graduate job skills primarily because they are focused on soliciting major contributions and endowments. Unlike CT public colleges that rely virtually totally on public financing with only very modest graduate contributions.

      If CT is ever to become a well functioning State economy again it will need to develop a hi-tech industry with ample supplies of hi-tech college grads.
      Anyone listening ?

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