by Kelly Langevin
Although higher education can often be seen as extremely important, it can also be seen as very costly for students, especially now with tuition costs on the rise for some state schools.
On Jan. 24, representative speakers Gregg Haddad, Chris Soto and Matt Lesser made their way to Central Connecticut State University to speak at Memorial Hall about the importance of taking part in and achieving a higher education after high school.
Posters reading “thrive together” were seen spread out across the entire room, as part of the American Association of University Professors [AAUP] campaign to encourage Connecticut political and policy leaders to support higher education as one of the main focal drives for the state’s future.
The Connecticut State University [CSU] AAUP stated that they believed public education should be made affordable for anyone and everyone who wishes to continue their schooling after graduating high school. According to the CSU-AAUP, receiving a higher education means more opportunities through memberships, guidance from professors and gaining more exposure to other people’s viewpoints, opinions and interpretations.
According to the CSU-AAUP, the ultimate goal is to protect quality public higher education not only for Connecticut residents, but also for the country. CSU-AAUP sees higher education as extremely important and is committed to protecting academic freedom and shared governance whenever it is being threatened.
“Higher education means opportunity. The opportunity to do better than the generation before and have the ability to provide for the future,” Joshua Quintana, a member of the CCSU Student Government Association, said.
One of the biggest messages brought forward during the event was that while Central is an affordable university, the cost of tuition can always be lower.
“Tuition at CCSU is fairly reasonable when you consider that private colleges are at least twice the cost for half the education. Central’s tuition is low; however, it could be lower. Central [and] the state needs to make funding for CCSU and the CSU system a whole priority. We could have anywhere from 80 to 90 percent, which would be a huge benefit to the state as a whole,” Quintana explained.
The speakers who attended also acknowledged that students still in high school should weigh their options out clearly when picking out a college, as most students do not realize what they are getting themselves into when they choose to go to a private school.
Still, although CCSU is a public university, not everyone agrees that tuition costs are making it easier to reach higher education goals.
“I think it’s too much because students are left with student loans they can’t afford to pay off for years after school,” sophomore Billy Stango commented.
“What the state needs to do is forget about the debate over taxes and instead focus on restructuring the way we pay for things like higher education,” Quintana said. “If the General Assembly spent more money on public higher education, fixing the crumbling foundation problem in eastern Connecticut and spending on infrastructure projects, then we would be in better shape than we are now. We must abandon the current debate on taxes. It’s a bad debate and fundamentally regressive. We must take on short-term debt for long-term growth.”
Although some ideas and thoughts were not all the same, the speakers, as well as attendees, all agreed on the importance of higher education as the main goal for the state’s future.