The Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education was scheduled to vote yesterday on whether or not to approve a 5.1 percent tuition increase for in-state students and a decrease for out-of-state students by 2.6 percent. When this publication went out for print (Monday), our editorial staff was not aware if this proposal was approved or not. Nonetheless, the fact that this was considered did not sit well with our staff.
The idea that in-state residents, who pay taxes to the state, will have to pay more to attend a state school is disappointing. Most students in high school in Connecticut have been in this state for most of their lives. Their parents have paid taxes year in and year out. A chunk of every paycheck that they earned was taken away before they ever got their hands on it. Part of that money went towards education and now it’s not going to benefit them at all.
Regardless of what happened at the Regents’ meeting Tuesday, state school tuition will still cost less for in-state residents, as it should, but decreasing the cost for those who don’t contribute to the state while increasing the price for those that do cannot be expected to be taken well.
Under this proposal, loyalty is the last thing that comes to mind. If the state is dealing with declining enrollment then the last thing it should do is ask its residents to pay more for a college education. In-state students are the CSU system’s bread and butter. Most people that attend state schools do so with the inkling that it costs less to do so.
Not only is the tuition cheaper than private schools, but a lot of students commute from home to save on room-and-board costs. The amount of money that students can save is the main reason why they stay in state. To be quite frank, there’s not much that draws students from other states into the CSU system.
But that is exactly what the board voted on; a second-rate strategy that attempts to lure students from out-of-state into Connecticut. The message that is being sent to prospective Connecticut college students doesn’t exhibit any allegiance whatsoever.
People should feel like their state is behind them, but this proposal throws Connecticut residents to the side for the potential market that is out-of-state students. It’s just like when a company offers new customers a slew of benefits while ignoring the faithful ones that have been with it through thick and thin.
If this proposal was approved Tuesday, as many expect it to be, it will do nothing more to the declining enrollment issue that the state faces than to blindly throw a lousy solution at one of the many problems that Connecticut must deal with in the future.