Community College Tuition Increase Vote to Come Soon

The Board of Regents for Higher Education for Connecticut State Colleges and Universities has approved a 5 percent increase in tuition at its four regional universities.

A separate tuition increase for students attending Connecticut’s community colleges is also likely to be discussed.

The four universities that would be affected by the proposed tuition changes include Western Connecticut State in Danbury, Central Connecticut State in New Britain, Eastern Connecticut State in Willimantic and Southern Connecticut State in New Haven.

The board also voted in favor of a 2.9 percent tuition increase for the online Charter Oak State College. The full system board will reach a final vote on the proposed tuition changes at its March 28 meeting, according to Westfair Online.

Connecticut State Colleges and Universities president Mark Ojakian said a decision on a tuition increase for the systems community colleges, including Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport and Norwalk Community College, will likely be made in April.

Ojakian also said the state universities need to know their tuition rates for the next academic year because they are compiling financial aid packages for the 2019-20 academic term, but can hold off on the community colleges tuition decision because students typically enroll later in the year.

“I want to take a little more time to gauge the legislative interest in additional funding,” for the community colleges, he said. “The community colleges are in a much more precarious position financially.”

Students attending the system’s community colleges paid 2.5 percent more in tuition this academic year than the previous academic year.

In order for the system to keep the tuition flat for the 2019-20 academic year, Okakian told the Business Journal that it would require $15.1 million from the state. Following Gov. Ned Lamont’s budget proposal announced in February, which kept the system’s funding flat, Ojakian said the result could be “A $57 million shortfall between the community colleges and state universities – and would necessitate tuition increases, drawdowns of dwindling reserves or likely both.”

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