Declined enrollment has been a hot topic as of late in Connecticut. The state schools are seeing fewer and fewer students, undergraduates and graduates. CCSU President Jack Miller has said that of the four CSU schools, Central has been affected the least by this. Still though, University officials have admitted that they are facing a problem and they are exploring ways to handle it.
Carl Lovitt, provost and vice president of academic affairs, said in a recent article featured in the Hartford Courant that the current trajectory that higher education is on isn’t sustainable. He addressed the recent news that a statewide tuition increase is inevitable and certainly won’t help the enrollment situation.
“That’s the model that is unsustainable,” Lovitt said, according to the courant. “At some point our market will not be able to bear the increase. Who’s to say we aren’t losing students because tuition has gone up beyond their means?”
It is clear that CCSU, as well as the other state schools, aren’t exactly sure how to handle this issue. Anyone with even half a brain knows that if something isn’t selling (college enrollment in this case) the last thing you should do is raise the price of it. However, given the state’s economic crisis, as addressed in last week’s Recorder editorial, there really is no way around a tuition hike.
That leaves a very tricky situation for state officials. On one hand, the cost of running a college certainly isn’t going down, but on the other, raising the price of an education isn’t going to give high school graduates any motivation to come to a state school.
To the University’s credit, it has somewhat admitted that it doesn’t have the answers to this conundrum. As a result, the school has decided to hire an expert. Vincent Tinto, a professor at Syracuse University, specializes in student attainment. The SGA recently allocated $6,500 for the purpose of funding Tinto’s $10,000 fee. President Eric Bergenn says that the University has agreed to pay the rest.
Some have questioned whether or not the school should keep this as an in-house process citing the student success team as a reason not to bring in Tinto. One of the team’s primary responsibilities is student attainment. But as several SGA senators pointed out at its last meeting, the team even acknowledges that Tinto is the University’s best option.
Arguments against hiring an expert are extremely short-sided. Desperate times call for desperate measures and CCSU recognizes that this is indeed a desperate time for higher education. It takes a lot to confess that you don’t have a solution to your own problem. Before things get any worse, University officials have decided to take the bull by the horns and fix this crisis.
$10,000 is a small price to pay to repair an issue as big as declined enrollment. In the long run this investment could pay dividends and provide the school with something worth much more than $10,000.