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Official: State's Higher Education Savings On Target

By Kathleen Megan

December 21, 2011

Consolidating the state's higher education system is on track to save the state $4.3 million over the next two years, as projected, the new system's leader said Tuesday.

The savings will be used to hire faculty at the state universities and community colleges, Board of Regents President Robert A. Kennedy told the board Tuesday. He added he is "very confident" the state will meet or exceed that goal.

Kennedy said he hopes to see more full-time faculty hired, particularly because full-time faculty are better positioned to offer advice and guidance to students and do committee work.

The consolidation, which took effect over the summer, combined the administrative offices for the four state universities -- Central, Eastern, Southern and Western -- the 12 community colleges and Charter Oak State College. The merger also replaces the boards of trustees for those institutions as of Jan. 1 with the Board of Regents.

At Tuesday's regents meeting, Kennedy also discussed what he learned on his visits to most of the 17 campuses the board oversees.

Kennedy said he heard from students how important it is to be able to easily transfer credits when they move between institutions, often moving from a community college to a state university. When the credits don't transfer, Kennedy said, students' progress is slowed and some may even need an extra year to make up classes.

Kennedy said he also heard just how stretched the operating budgets are at the state universities and community colleges.

He said he expects the board to take up the issue of next year's tuition at its meeting in January.

A year ago, the trustees for the community colleges increased tuition by 2.3 percent for the academic year 2012-2013. Earlier this week, the trustees reconfirmed that increase in a recommendation to the regents.

Elsa Nunez, president of Eastern Connecticut State University, said Tuesday the tuition increase at the four state universities is likely to range from 2.5 percent to 5 percent.

The regents will make the final decision on tuition increases for both the state universities and the community colleges.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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