Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s proposed budget will put strain on the state’s public colleges and universities and could result in tuition increases, according to the president of the state university system.
“While we don’t yet know its full impact, this level of spending reduction will almost certainly require a significant increase in student tuition and changes to how CSCU conducts its operations,” said Gregory Gray, president of the Board of Regents. The Board of Regents runs the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system.
Malloy’s budget shorts CSCU’s funding by $38 million. The University of Connecticut also has its funding reduced in the governor’s proposal. The $10 million reduction gives UConn $40 million less than it “needs to operate the university in the coming year,” school spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said.
UConn President Susan Herbst said managing a reduction of that size will require significant cuts throughout the university. “Any cost-cutting will be guided by one key principle: protecting teaching quality, research advances, and overall academic excellence,” she said.
Rep. Roberta Willis, D-Salisbury and co-chairman of the legislature’s Higher Education Committee, said the cut amounted to about 3 percent of UConn’s budget.
This is “not the direction we want to take in terms of investing in higher education. But reality is that a lot of cuts are going to have to be made and, unfortunately, higher education took another hit,” she said.
The Board of Regents says it will work closely with the legislature and the governor to ensure that the budget keeps doors open to Connecticut’s students while operating campuses as effectively as possible.
The proposed budget also does not provide full state funding for the Next Generation and Transform 2020 higher education initiatives, which were created to improve the University of Connecticut as well as the schools in the CSCU system.
The budget does, however, include a section that would enable Connecticut’s Higher Education Student Loan Authority to refinance the loans of state residents.
“There were some positive things today,” said Willis, adding: “We’ve got to do something about reducing student debt through giving them the ability to refinance at lower rates and consolidation of their loans.”