Students and administrators from colleges in Connecticut have testified before the legislature's Appropriations Committee about the effect of proposed state budget cuts.
In total, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system President Mark Ojakian said he is preparing for a single-year cut of as much as $81 million. He told lawmakers that the system might even consider declaring financial exigency, which would allow it to circumvent union contracts, spend reserve funds and sell off some assets. All options would be considered, including campus consolidations and additional tuition increases.
Tuition has increased by 17.8 percent at the four regional state universities over the past five years.
Western Connecticut State University graduate Allison Vas knew she was paying for college on her own, and WestConn offered an equally competitive program to private universities at a fraction of the cost. She is in consideration as a Fulbright semifinalist. Vas said without WestConn she wouldn't be a competitor in that program.
WCSU student Zach Rubin told lawmakers he's was underprepared socially, academically, and personally for college and failed out of school. He later chose WestConn for its affordability and it's business school reputation. He says the system isn't design just for high overachievers, but for kids who slacked in high school and now want to make something of themselves.