by Lauren Lustgarten
President of Connecticut State Colleges and Universities Mark E. Ojakian released a statement this past week recommending a tuition increase to all Connecticut state colleges.
Ojakian is recommending an increase smaller than the previous two years. As he said in the statement, for the first time ever he is suggesting a two-year time frame, “so that students and families can plan better for their educational costs.”
In the released statement, Ojakian said: “We are working hard every day to put our students first. That is why, like last year, I want you to hear this news directly from me. I am recommending a tuition increase at all of our schools.”
The recommended increase for all students at the four universities, 12 community colleges and Charter Oak State College for Fiscal Year 2018 is as follows:
Current tuition for universities is $10,079, with an increase of four percent or $403, the new tuition will be $10,482.
Current tuition for community college is $4,168, with an increase of 2.5 percent or $104, the new tuition will be $4,276.
Current tuition for Charter Oak State College is $7,611, with an increase of four percent or $304, the new tuition will be $7,915.
For Fiscal Year 2019, the recommended tuition increase is as follows:
Universities will face a four percent or $419 increase to the 2018 tuition, resulting in the 2019 tuition being $10,901.
Community colleges will face a 2.5 percent or $108 increase to the 2018 tuition, resulting in the 2019 tuition being $4,384.
Charter Oak State College will face a four percent or $319 increase to the 2018 tuition, resulting in the 2019 tuition being $8,234.
When it comes to how this will directly affect Central Connecticut State University, director of admissions Lawrence Hall believes this proposed increase will still keep CCSU competitive in the marketplace.
“Some students and families within the state and region will find it a little more challenging to attend,” said Hall. “However, CCSU will still maintain its status as the most affordable bachelor’s degree program in the state of Connecticut.”
As CCSU President Zulma Toro and CCSU have been committed to working on increasing enrollment numbers, this proposal can have an effect on their mission.
For Brendan Kruh, SGA treasurer, Finance Association president, and currently running for SGA president, he believes any increase at all is detrimental to the student body.
Kruh testified at the legislative offices in Hartford to the state legislatures of Higher Education Appropriations Committee about how damaging he believes tuition increases are to CCSU.
“I feel as though a four percent increase slated for this year and next is not as bad as a 12 percent increase, which was a figure being thrown around,” said Kruh. “However, with that being said, I am strongly against any increase because I have had the opportunity to meet students from every walk of life on this campus and I feel as though rising tuition will soon have a direct correlation with pricing out students from financially disadvantaged households who cannot afford to pay even a cent increase.”
The Board of Regents Finance Committee will meet on Wednesday, March 29, to discuss the recommendation. The full Board will meet on April 6 to vote.
“I believe it is our duty as students to continue seeking an affordable quality education, and to ensure that we do it is vital more now than ever to consistently place large amounts of pressure on the BOR and State Legislators,” said Kruh.
Ojakian said the CSCU system is facing a $35 million deficit, but this proposed increase does not close that deficit and the system would never look to tuition to do so. He added that if they did look to tuition, they would have to raise it by double-digits and that is not an option they are willing to consider.
Ojakian added, “I am fully aware that an increase is still an increase and this will impact you and your families. As a public higher education system, we will work hard to provide you with the affordable high quality education you deserve and expect.”