The UConn Storrs Campus
The UConn campus in Storrs.

The cost for in-state students to attend UConn would increase by 23.3% over the next five years under a schedule of tuition increases announced Thursday by the university.

That percentage increase, however, is smaller than the 31% increase that students paid during the previous four-year schedule of increases. University officials said the new five-year plan limits year-to-year tuition increases to their lowest levels in five years.

The board of trustees is expected to vote on the proposal at its meeting next Wednesday and the plan will be presented to students at meetings today.

UConn President Thomas C. Katsouleas said that he asked Gov. Ned Lamont and legislative leaders to make every effort to hold state funding steady for UConn.

“That happened for the current fiscal year, and I am hopeful it can continue,” Katsouleas said. “As a result, we are able to propose tuition increases that are significantly lower than those enacted in recent years. This reflects the importance of the social contract between the state, its citizens and UConn as Connecticut’s flagship public university.”

At his inauguration in October, Katsouleas announced the Connecticut Commitment program to enable students whose families have an annual income of $50,000 or less to attend UConn tuition-free starting in the fall of 2020. The program will be limited to entering freshmen and transfer students.

A statement from the university said that the free tuition plan did not drive up costs for other students, noting that “the  tuition plan would be the same even if that financial aid program had not been enacted.”

The tuition increase plan provoked strong criticism from Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven.

“Yet again UConn, an institution that has long mismanaged its money, is asking for more from students. At the same time they are hiring more faculty and promising free tuition, they are raising tuition costs again on everyone,” Fasano said.  “I believe making college more affordable and therefore more accessible to all students is a commendable goal. But clearly that’s not what UConn is doing. They are making new promises without a plan to pay for them. And tuition will increase yet again.”

He added, “I”m still waiting to see the UConn Foundation step up to raise funds to pay for the school’s transition to the Big East. It’s frustrating that UConn is becoming more and more difficult for young people to afford as new promises continue to be made.”

Sen. Will Haskell, co-chairman of the legislature’s higher education committee and a Democrat from Westport, was more sanguine in his assessment of the plan.

“While it is encouraging to hear that these will be the lowest increases over the past five years, it’s important to remember that reductions in state funding have put UConn into the regrettable position of shifting increasing costs to students,” Haskell said.

He said it is “incumbent on the Board of Trustees and General Assembly to ensure that adequate funding for our flagship university does not come at the expense of our student population.”

Rep. Gregg Haddad, who is the other co-chairman of the higher education committee and a Democrat from Mansfield, said he’s always hopeful that the university might be able to get away without any increase in tuition.

“But in this day and age of diminishing state support and increased expenses due to unfunded pension liability, it’s not unusual to expect that there would be some tuition adjustment,” he said, adding that it’s not as large an increase as he had expected.

Under the previous tuition plan adopted in 2015, in-state tuition increased at UConn by $950 in the current year of 2019-20, and by $1,250 for out-of-state students.

In the first year of the proposed new five-year plan, tuition would increase by $608 for all students. In the following years, it would increase by $625 in 2021; by $642 in 2022; by $660 in 2023; and by $679 in 2024.

In-state tuition is currently $13,798, while out-of-state tuition is $36,466.

While the dollar increase for out-of-state students will be the same as it is for in-state students, the percentage will be much smaller — at 11.3% over the next five-year period — because their tuition is already much higher.

The cost of attending UConn also includes room and board, in addition to tuition, for most students. The full cost to attend the UConn Storrs campus in 2020-21 would be $31,092 for in-state students and $53,760 for out-of-state students if this plan is approved and state aid remains level.

Those figures include the new tuition rate, along with mandatory fees and average room and board charges. Those costs are currently set at $3,428 in fees and $13,258 for average room and board, but these could change. The charges for room and board for the 2020-2021 school year will be determined in the spring of 2020.

The university said that, as required by state statute, the amount of money allocated to support financial aid will increase accordingly each year when tuition rates change to ensure adequate support for eligible students.

When institutionally-funded aid is factored in, the average in-state UConn student pays about $9,200 in annual tuition, the university said, with those who receive federal Pell Grants paying less.

“Access and affordability for our neediest students is a top priority,” said Nathan Fuerst, UConn’s vice president for enrollment planning and management. “Effective financial aid programs are critical to assisting our students in achieving their educational goals, and we anticipate adding to those programs further to continue drawing and retaining those students.”

UConn officials say the tuition proposal reflects the smallest possible increase necessary to protect the academic gains made over the years.

A statement from the university said it will also continue to reduce costs through consolidations, operational efficiencies and other measures that all will be vetted to ensure they do not compromise UConn’s academic quality.

“While much has been accomplished to date, the mandated costs ahead of us and our commitment to limiting tuition increases will require us to continue to aggressively manage our budget by cutting costs and finding efficiencies,” said Scott Jordan, UConn’s executive vice president for administration and chief financial officer. “It’s critical that the full burden of meeting increased costs doesn’t fall on our students.”

The university provided a breakdown on the components of the $608 tuition increase for next fall, saying that $100 of that figure covers cost increases, including personnel expenditures, while $389 accounts for inflationary increases. In addition, $119 was added to offset the increased fringe benefit costs that UConn is paying as part of the state’s plan to catch up with unfunded pension and retiree healthcare liabilities statewide.

University officials noted that, as with UConn’s two previous multi-year tuition plans, the university may recommend to  the board that tuition rates be revisited if there is a significant drop in UConn’s state appropriation or a significant increase in costs.

The university said in a statement that the tuition proposal purposely used dollar amounts to increase the rates each year, rather than percentages, to avoid “enacting a disproportionately high increase on out-of-state and international students that would put it at a competitive disadvantage to draw highly talented students from other regions.”

“Because out-of-state tuition is significantly higher than in-state rates, percentage increases that have compounded over time have placed UConn as second only to the University of Vermont among public university competitors in the rates charged to non-resident students.”

Connecticut students comprise about 80% of the student body, the university said, adding, “but UConn also needs to attract talented non-residents, as the number of high school graduates in Connecticut is shrinking.”

The university said that without non-residents attending UConn, the in-state tuition rate would have to increase by 56% to uphold current academic standards.

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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26 Comments

  1. By my math, that looks like a 4.3% annualized increase for each of the next 5 years. That’s more than double the inflation rate. I hope all the prospective parents are enjoying their 4.3% raises over the next 5 years to pay for UCONN.

    All is not lost however- state union employees got over a 5% pay increase so the six-figure administrators and faculty are getting theirs. That should provide some comfort to parents and students.

      1. What do you think professors make? Maybe some prof at the medical school gets a pension like that, but not your average liberal arts prof. Re: medical insurance: Professors who retire go on Medicare like everyone else. The 20% not covered by Medicare is covered by United Health.

      2. From Indeed Helen. Average pay for a University Professor at UConn is $89000.00. Not bad for teaching a couple grad classes and supervising some TA’s for 26 weeks. BTW that 33% higher than the average.

      3. I think the Chronicle of Higher Ed has better data: https://data.chronicle.com/category/sector/1/faculty-salaries/
        UConn is a Research 1 University, and it brings a lot of value to the state. Its salaries are lower than private sector university salaries. And no one making a salary of $90,000 or even $125,000 gets an annual pension of $300,000 as the comment by jschm suggests. I don’t favor this tuition increase, but it’s mostly a matter of increasing the tuition of people attending or having the legislature contribute more. The highest salaries generally go to administers, who aren’t unionized, but who do get pensions. But if salaries aren’t competitive, the university won’t be either. Education is vital to our society.

    1. Add to that that UConn employees are all state employees and will accrue future pension benefits in addition to free health insurance for the rest of their lives.

      Like all state departments, there is never any discussion of cutting expenses.

      Never. Ever.

  2. $214K minimum for out of state students and $125K minimum for resident students, for a UConn degree seems very high for a school that was ranked #64 nationally based on US. News National University Rankings. They need to be careful not to price themselves out of the market compared to many other universities that may have more prestige for around the same price but are also far better connected to employer networks in thriving states. A lot of UConn students say they want to stay and work here in CT but a significant portion of them leave for state school because they are offered similar employment but a lower overall cost of living elsewhere; I wonder if the administration considered that when they do the pricing?

    1. 64 out of 400. They beat Fordham at rank 70 which is 54K. Compare that to UConn at 17K. I’ll take UConn any day.

  3. This article makes me sad. It taught me that I should quit my job and become a loser. I have 2 teens about to go to college. If only my wife works and my family makes less money. I can get my kids a free uconn education. But since I work hard, provide food, house and pay my taxes. My kids and I have pay for school, get a 20 years of debt all because I worked hard and did the right thing. I’m not against helping those less fortunate. But one can’t get free and the other a generation worth of debt and think that is fair.

    1. Sad or angry? If you are pulling the cart, can’t you carry a heavier load to pay for extortion pensions for UConn personnel? What’s another 23%? Should be no problem.

      1. Its both for sure. Sad cause because I’ve done what we were taught do the right thing work hard and the rewards will come. Angry cause those who fail to do that seem to get the reward.

    1. UCONN Sports only lost $40.5 million last year. Poor Randy Edsell is only making $1 Million and his 24 year old son scrapping by as a coach as 110K. The model cannot continue. Tear down the Renschler Field sooner rather than later. Too expensive for 5 games a year and no other uses.

  4. This will price many kids out of the market. Right now it makes more sense to attend a two year school and then transfer. Until the taxpayers put their foot down and start holding their representatives responsible for these increases this will continue. University rates has exceeded the rate of inflation by a large margin because of student loans and the US taxpayers being on the hook.

  5. Please do not lose sight of the great value that the University of Connecticut provides its home state! For the sake of full disclosure, I am on faculty there. I assure you that my fellow faculty, and the staff that I work with, are extremely hard working and dedicated to the welfare of students and citizens. Students who cannot afford UConn have alternatives such as the community college and state college system– in fact they can start out there and if their grades are good enough they are admitted to UConn for their final years.

  6. In state tuition for UC Berkeley is $14,000 but one gets a world class education,if desired.
    UConn? Well,perhaps it would be smarter to move to California.
    Also, The foundation only pays for mansions and scoreboards.

  7. As a 1971 Alumni, I find it disheartening that UCONN over the years has become nothing but a drain on the taxpayers. State workers getting “free” tuition should have been stopped decades ago. It is not fair that anyone gets a free ride while others struggle during and after their college years. UCONN has been mismanaged for so long it has become acceptable. Free tuition to illegal immigrants is morally wrong, yet UCONN continues and expands this program. I suggest my fellow Alumni not to donate one dime until UCONN acts responsibly.

  8. If the faculty and higher paid administrators concerned about the students and UCONN national ranking and their inability to compete for research grants due to UCONN’s overhead costs ( doubled to cover pensions etc) they would voluntarily drop out of the union and cut their pensions to match their higher education peers around the country and pay more of their health costs. They could also forgo the raise. I dont hear any of them stepping up

  9. I’m sorry to see this tuition rise. The CSUs are still good value and have smaller class sizes and often better teaching. Look at the credentials of the CSU professors and you won’t find a difference by and large with UConn faculty. Plus, speaking of football, go CCSU Blue Devils! Women’s soccer, too!

  10. Give the president and the coaches another raise and the cost to attend UCONN will go up to 33.3%! I think their salaries are outrageous!

  11. Unfortunately, this is an on-going saga of UCONN not addressing the administrative and classroom wastes that drive up the costs, coupled with admin management overload. Having brilliant people who don’t know how to tackle this won’t result in change. I won’t address the athletics program here as that is a separate topic altogether.
    I met with Richard Gray when he was UCONN’s CFO a short time after McKinsey completed a $4 million+ study for UCONN on how to achieve greater efficiencies and cost savings. The McKinsey study was extensive, but they were “doing it to UCONN”, in other words lower UCONN engagement and “skin in the game” while McKinsey did a lot of interviewing and report writing/recommendations. I asked Richard how much of the report (very thick) was done and he thought less than 10%.
    Fast forward to June, 2017, when a major RFP was due to UCONN for “on Call Consulting Services”. We bid on this since we work with K-12 and colleges and universities throughout the US. 29+ months later, still no RFP decision. I have a monthly trail of emails promising decisions for the last 20 months on this RFP. Alas, it still lives on.
    The State legislature has no clue but certainly will throw money at UCONN to keep them going. What we feel is spot on:
    The fallacy in Education is that if more money is provided to a poor system, miraculously the quality and results of the education system will get better. Without fundamental systemic changes in the
    classroom and the supporting administrative service functions, the additional money generally is wasted and does not achieve better results.
    This is relevant for all segments of education. Some great Lean work by Superintendent Dr. Salvatore Menzo in the K-12 Wallingford school system. He’s actually returned budget money to the City!! Where have you heard that before?? Of course, 160+ other superintendents are “crickets” when it comes to replicating what Wallingford is doing. SAD!!!

    1. Hi hwk71771, we welcome your comments but please note that our guidelines require that comments be limited to 1,000 characters. We will not be able to approve comments that exceed that limit going forward.

  12. Do parents actually feel they are getting their money’s worth when they read of the anti-free speech shenanigans that goes on at UCONN as well as other colleges across the country? Everything is political. Kids are all victims. No one is “safe”. The bloated bureaucracies just keep getting bigger.
    Unless your child is studying the hard sciences in order to get a good job after graduation that requires a degree, you are probably wasting your money.
    The saddest cases are those who don’t graduate but still owe on those government college loans. If it wasn’t for the government being in the loan business colleges would have no incentive to continue to increase costs willy-nilly.

  13. Folks… They claim they need to raise the tuition so they won’t have to raise the tuition in the future… HUH!!!
    Like the democrats in Hartford they have been raising tuition at a steady rate over the last decade and their is NO indication this will change. They really think we are that stupid!

    1. Hi Things I See, in the interest of clarification, can you provide a citation that shows a university official who claims further tuition increases will not be needed in the future?

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