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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.”
While the system’s Board of Regents has predicted a 10% drop in enrollment at its four universities, “The preliminary numbers we’re seeing have been better than that,” Mark Ojakian said. “We’re hopeful that no institution hits that 10% mark.”
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.
Funding for the initiative is still to be finalized; the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system estimates it could cost as much as $15 million.
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.”
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.
Average tuition and fees at CSCU universities -- including WestConn in Danbury -- will increase by $479 or 4.4 percent for an in-state undergraduate commuter student and by $860 or 3.6 percent for in-state residential students.
The revised “Students First” plan calls for the consolidation to take place in 2023, the hiring of three regional presidents in 2019 and the gradual elimination of 117 jobs, mostly administrative in nature.