When Governor Dannel Malloy delivered his proposed state budget last February he included the deepest cuts in state history to Connecticut’s public colleges and universities. The Democratically controlled legislature followed his lead and approved those cuts.
The University of Connecticut’s block grant (state appropriation) took a hit of about $25 million from the amount it needed to maintain its current level of services.
Then, as a result of the Malloy/SEBAC state employee agreement, the Malloy Administration has now removed $20 million this year even though the agreement saves UConn far less than that amount.
The net effect is that over the next 2 years UConn will be short about $90 million and as much as $140 million less than what is needed over the next four years.
Yesterday the University of Connecticut Board of Trustees adopted a series of record tuition and fee increases. Together they will drive up the cost of attending UConn by 28% or more.
CTNewsjunkie did a great job reporting on the issue. Definitely check it out at http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/ctnj.php/archives/entry/uconn_trustees_approve_four-year_plan_to_raise_tuition/
UConn and the Trustees said the money will be used exclusively to hire 290 new faculty.
However UConn will need new funds simply to keep key programs intact. The 28% increase in tuition and fees would mean UConn could make up some of the money it will have lost from the State. The new tuition increase will bring in about $50 million dollars over the next four years. Even if they used the money to keep existing programs going they’d still be short about $40 million over the next two years to maintain its current level of services.
It wasn’t long ago that the state of Connecticut paid for half the cost of running UConn and students and parents paid the other half. As a result of reduced support over the years and Malloy’s cuts this year, the state share has dropped to 27%.
Now students and parents are picking up an overwhelming percentage of the costs associated with running Connecticut’s flagship university and that percentage will grow substantially over the next four years.
As Governor, Malloy serves as President of the UConn Board of Trustees and with a number of state commissioners automatically serving on the UConn board, as well as political appointees, Malloy controls the Board and its decisions. With yesterday’s vote he will not only have authored the deepest cuts in state history at UConn but he and his team will be responsible for instituting these massive tuition increases.
While Governor Malloy may not understand or appreciate the impact raising tuition and fees by 28 percent or more will have on Connecticut’s middle income families, he certainly understands the politics. The UConn Board took the unprecedented step of approving four years of tuition increases with a single vote – meaning they won’t have to vote again until after the next election.
In the past the Board of Trustees have only adopted its new tuition and fee schedule one year at a time since the need for increased tuition and fees depends on what the State is or isn’t providing to UConn that year.
And as previously mentioned, the real kicker is that UConn is claiming that these increases are being implemented so they can hire more faculty. As so many students have come to learn, UConn doesn’t have enough professors which means classes sizes have grown and some students can’t even get the courses they need to graduate in four years.
Since 1995, the number of students attending UConn has increased by 56% while there has only been a minor increase in the number of faculty.
But the fact is, the vast majority of the funds brought in by these new tuition hikes will be needed to make up for the $140 million that state is withholding over the next four years.
But rather than admitting that fact, the Board of Trustees is misleading the students, parents and the public.
As their own defense, UConn is claiming that even with these tuition and fee increases, the University of Connecticut remains a bargain because it is less expensive than most other major universities.
While other schools may cost more, these increases are – in fact – the equivalent of a major tax increase for every Connecticut family who is sending a student to UConn.
As to the notion that families can afford those additional costs; of the 16,496 undergraduate students who attended UConn in the Fall of 2010, 9,336 qualified for “need-based” support meaning those families have already proven they cannot afford to cover the existing costs of attending the University let alone 28% more.
The Malloy version of “Shared Sacrifice” – More taxes for middle income families and then, as a result of state budget cuts, those same families will now face significantly higher costs to send their kids to college.