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March 28, 2019

Regents raise tuition 5% at four regional universities

Photo | Wikimedia Commons Central Connecticut State University's campus in New Britain.

Connecticut students attending one of the state’s four regional universities will pay an average of $479 more next year in tuition and fees if they commute and $861 more if they reside at the university, according to a vote of the Board of Regents for Higher Education on Thursday.

The regents voted unanimously to increase tuition by 5 percent as they struggle to close the projected budget shortfall faced by the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system. The increase will apply to tuition at Eastern, Western, Southern and Central Connecticut State Universities.

“I think that’s reasonable,” said Mark Ojakian, president of the CSCU system. “It’s not something you want to do. Nobody ever wants to raise tuition, but given the budgetary situation that we are in … We are still going to have cut costs and we are still going to have to dip into reserves at the end.”

Even with the tuition increase, the state system will have a budget shortfall of about $20 million and will have to dip into its reserve account to cover much of that cost unless the General Assembly provides more funds to the system. Without a tuition increase, the budget gap would be $31.7 million.

Gov. Ned Lamont has recommended essentially flat-funding the CSCU institutions, which include the state’s 12 community colleges and Charter Oak State College. Ojakian said he doesn’t anticipate having to revisit the 5 percent increase unless the legislature dramatically cuts funding to the system.

The increases will mean that in-state commuting students will pay $11,417 in tuition and fees next year, while residential students pay $24,716.

In the last ten years, tuition and fees at the university have increased by about 52 percent from $7,178 in 2008-09 to $10,938 this year.

Elena Ruiz, a student representative of the regents board and a junior at Eastern Connecticut State University, said she believes the increase is fair.

“I think they are doing the best that they can with the money that Ned Lamont’s government has provided” Ruiz said. “I firmly believe that they always strive to keep quality and affordability as the main interest for the students.”

The board did not take any action on an increase in tuition for the community colleges, but the board’s finance committee is expected to address this next week.

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