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"Enrollment has been declining for the past 10-plus years, so we can’t say everything is because of the pandemic," Cheng told the Business Journal. "It’s much larger than that.”
Last week, the unaffiliated University of Connecticut asked the state for a $104.4 million bailout.
The moves are the latest in the organization’s “Students First” plan to merge its community colleges into one accredited institution by 2023. The result, to be called Connecticut State Community College, still needs to be accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Meanwhile, students at the four universities in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system – including Western Connecticut State in Danbury -- will pay roughly $400 or $800 more per year.
Students at the four state universities – including Western Connecticut State in Danbury -- would pay $6,162 for full-time in-state tuition, up from the current $5,924.
Broadie became president of Housatonic in 2015, and added Gateway to his responsibilities in 2017 when Dorsey Kendrick retired from its presidency.
“There is always going to be a reaction to substantial change,” says newly installed CSCU regional president Thomas Coley, whose oversight includes Bridgeport's Housatonic and Norwalk Community College, “which is what you’re witnessing now. It takes time and conversation.”
According to revised estimates from the state comptroller’s office, the cost of fringe benefits will be less than expected, though the precise impact on such community colleges as Norwalk and Housatonic is uncertain.
The system’s community colleges include Norwalk Community College and Bridgeport’s Housatonic Community College.
Meanwhile, faculty at five community colleges and two state universities have delivered votes of no confidence in a plan to consolidate the state's 12 community colleges into one system.
“With all due respect to the new governor and state legislature, this kind of a structural shift has implications that will extend far beyond the best intentions of present leadership," says Newtown First Selectman Dan Rosenthal.
"There are many new members in the General Assembly this year, so we have to educate them about our system and what we do," says Ojakian of the organization that's weighing a variety of tuition scenarios for the 2019-20 school year.