The Board of Regents for Higher Education will take up raising tuition and fees at the state universities and community colleges when it meets Thursday, according to a press release.
The recommendations, which would apply to this school year, would amount to an average of a 3.7 percent increase in tuition and fees for an in-state student living at one of the state universities. That’s $676 more than the same student would have paid last year. An in-state commuter’s bill would rise 3.8 percent, or $315 more than last year.
Meanwhile, community college students would see an increase of 3.1 percent, or $108, over last year.
The announcement comes a month after trustees at the University of Connecticut voted to raise tuition by around 6 percent over each of the next four years. Though UConn has recently endured cuts to its block grant funding, President Susan Herbst said the money generated by the increases will be used strictly for hiring new faculty.
The Board of Regents is also operating with less money than the sum of what its individual entities spent last year. The new agency was budgeted to receive $315.7 million for a new office as well as the state universities, community colleges and the Charter Oak school this year. Last year, before they were consolidated, those entities received a total of $323.9 million.
Funding is further offset by the close to $22 million being withheld from the agencies as budgetary lapses this year, according to a holdback list requested by the CTMirror. All told, the Board of Regents’ funding is more than 9 percent less than what it spent last year.
Even so, Board of Regents spokeswoman Colleen Flanagan said the idea is that the money raised by the smaller increases in tuition and fees at the universities and community colleges will be used to enhance student services.
This month the agency began issuing layoff notices to administrative employees made redundant by the consolidation, she said.
“Our goal is to redirect available resources – both as a result of this proposed increase in tuition and fees and savings realized within the central office – back to the campuses for instructional and other student services,” she wrote in an email.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s spokesman, Andrew Doba said that though an increase is never good news, the board’s proposal to raise tuition and fees is fairly modest.
“The fact that it falls below the historic average and that they are pledging to identify savings and reinvest that money into the faculty is a great sign that they are looking to stay competitive, while remaining an affordable option for Connecticut residents,” he said. “The governor is a firm believer that in order to live up to their mission, these schools need to be open and accessible to residents of all income levels.”
In a statement, Board of Regents Interim President Dr. Robert A. Kennedy said the agency was reviewing contracts and other expenditures to identify savings and increase its efficiency.
“Our goal is to redirect those savings back to the campuses to enable them to hire more faculty,” he said.
The board’s executive vice president, Michael P. Meotti, said that while reviewing the proposal to raise tuition, the board was cognizant of the impact the poor economic conditions have on families in Connecticut.
“This recommended increase will allow our state colleges and universities to hire additional faculty and stay competitive among their peer schools, without overburdening their students,” he said.