Community college students likely to face 2 percent increase next year
Connecticut students would pay $92 more next year in annual tuition and and fees — a 2.1 percent increase — at the state’s 12 community colleges under a proposal to be considered Wednesday by the Board of Regents for Higher Education’s finance committee.
That would bring annual tuition and fees to $4,476 next year.
“It really doesn’t do the job, but we need some revenue to come in and we didn’t want to raise it higher than the 2 percent,” said Richard J. Balducci, who is chairman of the regents’ finance committee. “So what we are doing is 2 percent. We’ve done that before and we’re hoping that’s all we have to do.”
As part of the proposal, the regents would raise the college services fee by 2 percent, plus $5, and would drop the $20 application fee.
The overall 2.1 percent increase would bring in $2.7 million in additional revenue to the financially-ailing community college system, but would still leave the colleges with a $22.6 million shortfall for next year unless additional funding becomes available.
The governor’s budget currently calls for essentially flat-funding the system.
Any shortfall would have to be covered by the use of reserve funds, spending reductions, or a combination of the two, according to meeting documents.
“[T]here remains considerable uncertainty regarding the amount of reserves that must be dedicated to the FY 2020 operations,” the regents documents say. “This number is likely to be reduced as campuses find additional savings, or, more favorably, the legislature identifies additional resources.”
Last year, the Board of Regents, which oversees the 17 institutions that are part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, raised community college tuition by 2.5 percent. Between 2008 and this year, community college tuition and fees have gone up 55 percent, from $2,828 to $4,384.
Last week, the regents approved a 5 percent increase in tuition next year for the state’s four regional universities — Central, Eastern, Southern and Western.
Balducci said the regents make a particular effort to keep any tuition increases low for community colleges students.
“Nobody wants to add to tuition,” Balducci said, “but we do need to pay the bills.”
The committee is expected to approve the tuition increase Wednesday and sent it on to the full board, which will likely endorse it at the April 18 Board of Regents meeting.
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