Tag Archives: tuition

DSC_1606

CCSU Speaks Up

Photo: Erin O’Donnell
Danny Ravizzo beats a drum leading members of the tuition rally Monday afternoon around the Student Center Circle.

By Amanda Webster and Acadia Otlowski

Colorful banners and chants criticizing imposed tuition hikes for Conn. state colleges filled the Student Center Circle Monday afternoon as students and faculty came together to voice their opposition at a tuition rally.

Student Alexa Pagnani watched the rally unfold from the sidelines. “I think it’s really good that they are rallying,” said Pagnani. “It’s pretty ridculous that we all have to pay more for an education.”

The Board of Regents is considering a 5.1 percent increase for students, which would cost students an additional $800 in tuition.

Pagnani, who is a freshman, said that she heard tuition increase has been the trend in recent years and is worried that if this motion to raise tuition this year passes then it will only continue to increase.

“If it’s starting at $800, I don’t want to know what it’ll be like when we’re seniors.”

Student Government president Eric Bergenn organized the event in order to get students to voice their opinions on the matter.

“Today we are calling on the state to invest in us,” Bergenn said to an enthusiastic crowd. “It’s time to stand up to people who tell us that we are not important enough to invest in.”

SGA Senator Bobby Berriault addressed the crowd about his concerns over rising tuition. According to Berriault, around 3,000 students will graduate from CCSU at the end of this semester. Of those 3,000, approximately 90 percent will stay in Conn. to find jobs. With the majority of graduates staying in state and paying taxes, Berriault said that more  money should be invested into state colleges so that students are able to afford the education needed to succeed later on.

“The Governor does not have the final say in how state funds are allocated,” stated Berriault. “If the people of Connecticut are to have a better future and a better tomorrow, we need to invest in all of Connecticut’s colleges and not just a few,” continued Berriault.

Much attention has been directed towards the $1.5 billion invested in UConn’s STEM program and with both rising costs of tuition and budget cuts for the CSU system, many people have been left with questions as to why the other state colleges have been financially neglected.

“I personally support any investment in UConn. However, I also support an investment here at CCSU,” Bergenn stated during the rally.

“I think that people are tired of being in debt,” said student Daniel Piper, a member of the Youth for Socialist Action.

“I don’t think they like the idea of debt hanging over them and their work life being overshadowed by that. It’s totally wrong, I think this state and this country are both wealthy enough to go to school for free, get a job and get healthcare for all. It’s insane, it’s absolutely insane what we are being deprived of. There is no reasonable explanation for it,” stated Piper.

“It’s cool to see students come together for a greater cause,” said sophomore Steve Blanchard.

Blanchard said that he hopes that more students from the CSU system will come together and travel to the capitol together to make their voices heard.

“It’s our voice, it’s our campus and our rights. It’s all on us. We’re the ones to make it happen.”

Editorial: Worth The Price Of Admission

Last week the Connecticut Board of Regents approved a tution hike of almost four percent for the CSU Schools, which includes our university, as well as the 12 community colleges in the state. The increase may currently seem like a hassle for some students, but our institution can only benefit from these changes.

If you take a look at our campus, you can already see where the money is going. With a new academic building on the way for 2013 as well as future plans for a new residence hall, cafeteria and police station, it is evident that our money is being put to good use. It is not being spent in ways that will not benefit the entire student body or being funneled to a certain department.

Some may argue that they will not be here to set foot into any of these new buildings, but one must remember the welfare of this university will follow you after graduation. When asked what university you attended in the near future, one should feel a sense of pride that you graduated from CCSU. That pride can grow over the years as you continue to see CCSU prosper. If one were to discuss the state that this university was in 30 years ago, you would be astonished to see the improvements that  have been made. Alumni continue to come back to take part in the CCSU community and events because they are proud of the accomplishments the university has made.

Taking a look at other universities in Connecticut that do not fall under the CSU schools’ jusrisdiction, the amount that students have to pay in order to receive an education is well above what the average student here has to pay. A commuter student at Quinnipiac University pays $36,000 per year, where at CCSU an in-state resident pays approximately $18,000. The difference between the two is significant, and should be enough to convince CSU students that an extra $600-700 is really nothing in comparison.

UConn will raise its tuition by six percent for the fall semester and in-state undergraduates will pay $22,430, while also facing a steady climb to an almost seven percent increase by 2016. These hikes were unanimously approved in December and also adds to the fact that our tuition could be more expensive if the Board was to use UConn as a benchmark.

Students at CCSU enjoy looking down on this university for countless reasons, but they need to realize that the fact the university is making an effort to improve itself and its facilities is commendable. Education is an industry in the U.S., unlike most other countries, and we should all feel priveleged and want to contribute towards improvment. Thinking about all that a student can do with their time at CCSU, it seems like a 3.7 percent increase is a small sacrifice when looking at the big picture.

Our university has a plethora of clubs, committees and sponsored events that students can take advantage of and, even though there are many that do not jump at these opportunities, that is no reason to say that one should not want to pay a small increase in tuition. There are many at this school that want to take full advantage of what the university has to offer, and we should not forfeit that because of a lack of state funding.

Board of Regents Increase CSU Tuition Rates

By Kassondra Granata

The state Board of Regents approved a tuition increase last Thursday of almost 4 percent for the CSU Schools as well as the twelve community colleges.

For students living on campus, there will be an increase of 3.7 percent, or about $676 where students commuting will face an increase of 3.8 percent, or $315. Community college students will pay 3.1 percent more, about $108.

According to Board of Regents President Robert Kennedy, the increase will go into effect for students entering the fall of 2012.

Kennedy says that the source of revenue for colleges and universities comes from state support and student tuition. He also said that even though no one wants to increase the cost of college tuition, this is the only option.

“For the past couple of years, state revenue has been dropping and the budgets provided by the states to the colleges have decreased as well,” said Kennedy. “Along with increase costs and declining state revenue, the only source of income for the colleges is tuition.”

At the Jan. 19 meeting, two student members of the board of regents opposed the increase. Alex Tetty Jr, Chairman of the Board of Regents Student Advisory Committee, voiced his opposition while Michael Fraser, vice-chair of the committee, said that the increase should be higher.

According to Kennedy, one of the main concerns that the board faced was where the money would go towards.

Kennedy said that the money from the tuition increase would be directed towards faculty and student support services, such as counseling, but the campuses will still get less money in their budgets.

In terms of there being a set limit on raising the tuition in the future, Kennedy said he was unsure of the possibility.

In the last several years, the increases have been lower than the historical average and the national average, according to Kennedy.

Last year, a 2.5 percent tuition increase was approved as well as a credit card transaction fee that created an additional 2.5 percent for a student using their card to pay for a bill. In 2010, there was a 5.6 increase for students living on campus and a 6.3 percent for commuter students in January that proceeded a tuition freeze in September that kept fees at the same level. In 2009, students saw a 5.3 percent increase in their tuition for the fall 2009 semester.

“The board expressed a strong support for keeping the tuition to a minimum,” said Kennedy. “We can’t really anticipate what the cost drivers are nor can we anticipate what the support from the state will be, so it has to be done on an annual basis. But from our discussion yesterday, we want to keep the tuition low.”

Kennedy said that some colleges across the country have made attempts to set a tuition limit, but had to back away due to the cost drivers that would affect them long term.

“A few years ago we sort of levered off, but when fuel prices and heating costs were going up in 2005-2006, it was really difficult to tell so it really needs to be done on an annual basis,” said Kennedy.

Student Government Association President Eric Bergenn and Treasurer Nick Alaimo are continuing to be active in working with the administration.

Alaimo is the CCSU representative on the Student Advisory Committee to the Board of Regents and was on the fence about the tuition increase.

“We want to keep the quality of our education high, but we still need to work within our means and be affordable,” said Alaimo. “I would like to see if we could be a part of the process in the future.”

President Bergenn said that Alaimo’s willingness to represent CCSU on the Board of Regents is very helpful.

“As to the tuition increase of 3.8 percent, it’s safe to say that no one wants to pay more for the same product they’ve been getting, but with cuts in state funding, it’s an inevitable reality if we want to keep the quality of the education we’re paying for the same,” said Bergenn. “We were expecting, from what Governor Malloy had proposed, a 2.5-3% increase as a result of the cut in state funding.”

Bergenn also said that there are other actions that students can take in order to try to alleviate the cost of education.

“We could be at the state house working with representatives and lobbying for more higher education funding. We could be working more closely with our representative in the Senate of the SGA, Faculty Senate, and front office administration on finding ways to economize the management of the university,” said Bergenn. “It’s important to not react to these things with the attitude that we are helpless.  We are only as helpless as we choose to be.”

Breaking Down The New Fees

By Jonathan Stankiewicz

Oct. 1 is coming, consider yourselves warned.

Starting this Saturday, the way students will be paying for things will be drastically changed.

All credit card payments will be accepted online only and will be processed through the online QuickPAy ebill/payment service provided on CCSU’s Web Banner system. No mailed, faxed or in-person credit card transaction will be accepted. Debit cards will also be accepted online and will be processed as a credit card transaction subject to the same 2.5% convenience fee.

It should be of note that the convenience fee is only added when a credit card is chosen as the method of payment and added only at the time a payment is made.

“Other schools in the CSU System requested it as a way of targeting the cost involved in accepting credit cards to those using this method of payment, rather than the whole student body absorbing the cost with increased tuition and fees,” said Bursar Betsy Fan Fangiullo.

Fangiullo wants students to understand that paying by eCheck/ACH from a checking or savings account carries no fees so if they were previously using a branded debit card, they should instead enter the routing information for their bank account.

“If they were previously using a branded debit card from a checking account, they may instead enter their bank routing information so they are not assessed the fee,” added Fangiullo.

To help combat the new 2.5% increase students can take advantage of Central’s current payment plan for next semester, though there isn’t any room to expand the five installments per term.

But in CCSU President Jack Miller’s report card in “Objective 2.11: Increase the total amount of financial aid awarded,” Financial Aid and Student Affairs greatly surpassed the $52.7 million in aid given out in the 2005-06 academic year. For the 2010-11 academic year they were able to award $88 million to students, greatly surpassing their goal of $65 million.

Today many people have Visa cards and the Bursar’s office and Fangiullo understand that. Due to compliance with PCI regulations CCSU can no longer accept them.

“Visa regulations do not allow for flexibility in the assessing of a convenience fee and require that when accepting Visa and charging a convenience fee, an institution must charge the fee on all methods of payment, not just to credit cards, as well as a requirement that the fee be a flat or fixed amount, rather than the percentage as approved by the Board of Trustees,” Fangiullo said.

Or we can just say “Visa regulations do not allow a convenience fee charge unless the fee is also charged for every payment method (check, cash),” says the Bursar’s website about Visa acceptance being discontinued.  “Due to these restrictions CCSU will not be able to accept Visa credit card as a method of payment.”

Fangiullo is adamant that this new fee “is not a way to push more people to pay online.”

“Paying online continues to be the most secure, accurate, accessible and convenient method of payment,” Fangiullo said.  “The QuikPAY eBill/ePayment service has been certified compliant with credit card security regulations, ensuring continued security for students and authorized payors’ financial data.”

The entire CSU system has been affected and the Bursar’s offices have worked together accordingly.

“The four Bursars have worked closely with each other throughout this implementation,” Fangiullo said. “We have done the research on other schools that have made similar transitions and have received positive feedback from all.”

Fangiullo said that she and the Bursar’s office will continue to ensure a smooth transition for students.

“As the forms of currency/payments evolve, I understand the need to make changes but also understand that these changes may be difficult for some of our students,” said Fangiullo.

Credit Card Convenience Fee to Take Effect in October

By Justin Muszynski

The much talked about credit card convenience fee that was approved this past spring by the CSUS Board of Trustees will begin on October 1st.

Any credit card that is used to pay for a student’s tuition will be subject to a non-refundable 2.5 percent fee.

According to Betsy Fangiullo of the bursar’s office, the fee is implemented by the credit card company and it’s important to remember this is not just a CCSU fee, but is customary practice with credit cards.

“These funds will be deposited in to the University’s general operating account,” said Fangiullo. “Fees charged to vendors for accepting credit cards are standard in the industry.”

Also something to note, is the new fee is only on the portion that is processed with a credit card. For example if a loan covers most of your tuition and the remainder that the student has to pay is $100, they are charged 2.5 percent of that.

This is not something exclusive to CCSU. All the CSU schools will charge the same fee and schools like UCONN, the University of Hartford, and Sacred Heart already have a similar fee in place.

Fangiullo says there are other options that the bursar’s office will accept including electronic checks, cash, checks, or money orders. However, credit cards will no longer be accepted in person, online will be the only way to use them.

“Due to PCI compliance regulations, we are not able to accept them in person,” said Fangiullo.

Visa cards will no longer be accepted due to certain restrictions. Visa stipulates that if a convenience fee is charged to the cardholder, the vendor must also implement this fee to all payment methods, which CCSU has chosen not to do, thus discontinuing the ability to pay with Visa.

It’s also important to remember that debit cards are not exempt from this new fee.

“Debit card transactions will also only be accepted online and will be processed as a credit card transaction subject to the same 2.5 percent convenience fee,” said Fangiullo.

Fangiullo also says the bursar’s office is not trying to catch students off guard with this fee and they are taking the necessary steps to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“We are sending out postcards and electronic messages and have information posted on our website,” said Fangiullo.

CSUS Board Approves 2.5 Percent Tuition Increase

Adds Extra 2.5 Percent Increase for Students Using Credit Cards

By Matt Clyburn

The Connecticut State University System Board of Trustees approved a 2.5 percent increase in tuition and fees for more than 36,000 students last Thursday, along with a new credit card transaction fee that will impose an additional 2.5 percent for student using a card to pay their bill.

The credit card transaction fee was a last-minute addition to the board’s proposed changes and aligns to similar fees charged at other local institutions of higher education, including UConn.

According to the Hartford Courant, officials estimated that nearly 40 percent of CSUS students use credit cards for payment, in whole or in part.

Students also have the option to enroll in the CENTRAL Payment Plan for a $35 fee, which allows payers to divide the cost of attendance into five equal monthly payments.

It is unclear whether students using credit card-branded debit cards would be charged the fee, but students may use an ‘e-check’ to have payment drawn electronically from any bank account. CCSU students may also use a personal check, money order, cashier’s check or a Blue Chip debit account to make payment of tuition and fees.

A press release from the CSUS said that the increase is the smallest since 2000, but follows a vote by the board in September 2010 that indicated tuition would be frozen for next year.

“It is important that CSUS maintain the accessibility and affordability of its universities to the greatest extent possible,” said Angelo Messina, chairman of the Finance and Administration Committee, in September. “Our students and potential students are among those that are most affected by the prolonged economic downturn.”

Tuition and fees will increase by an average of $198 for in-state undergraduate commuters and $446 for in-state undergraduates that living on campus, according to a press release from the system.  Exact rates will vary based on university, course schedule and additional program requirements.

Another change approved by the board Thursday will add a lab fee for nursing students to provide required materials during non-lecture course sessions.

Board Vice Chairman Richard J. Balducci echoed Governor Dannel Malloy’s recent call for shared sacrifice and said that cost-cutting measures are being implemented across the system to keep the tuition increase at 2.5 percent.

The governor asked Connecticut public universities and colleges earlier this year not to raise tuition by more than the level of inflation. Since the request, state officials have pegged the rate of inflation at 2.5 percent and the University of Connecticut trustees voted a tuition increase at precisely that rate just a few weeks ago.

The system-wide tuition increase last year was 6.3 percent for in-state undergraduate commuters and 5.6 percent for in-state undergraduate campus residents.

“Currently, the cost of tuition and fees falls about midway compared with public universities in the Northeast, and is the lowest when compared with 11 competitor universities in the region which CSUS students had considered attending,” the CSUS statement said.