Statement On The Budget From BOR President Mark Ojakian

“The cuts to public higher education included in the budget resolution passed yesterday would have a profound impact on CSCU students. Our students are almost entirely from Connecticut and they overwhelmingly stay here after graduation. Our students are not numbers on a budget sheet. They are and will be Connecticut’s nurses, teachers, educators, small business owners, corporate leaders, and manufacturers, and the rest of our future workforce. Many are working full time or part time and are already making tremendous sacrifices to attend our schools and get an education. Were it not for the state support for CSCU and programs like the Roberta Willis Scholarship, many of our students would not be able to attend college. 

 “Our system has continued to absorb cuts year after year and we fully understand that in order to balance the budget we will have to absorb more once again. But our schools are already operating with $66M less than they had in 2015. These cuts have had real and lasting damage to our ability to serve our students. If we continue on this path, any options we consider to sustain our system in the future will include significant increases to tuition and fees that our students don’t deserve and cannot afford. It is important to remember that our students and the families that support them are also taxpayers.

 “The budget passed by the General Assembly would place dramatic cuts on our system, and would phase out the Roberta Willis Scholarship and the access it provides to higher education for thousands of students across our system and this state. This will pass on higher costs for our students while simultaneously cutting programs and access to financial aid. To remain competitive our state must be making these critical investments in higher education. 

 “Our system has proactively been pursuing our own structural changes in order to remain sustainable into the future so we can continue providing our students with a high quality education. We’re doing everything possible to be responsible stewards of both our students hard earned investment and CT’s taxpayers. However we must make sure we don’t place the financial burden on our students and that we protect the services they need most to succeed. If we don’t, the existing and future workforce in our state will simply not be as competitive as it needs to be.” 

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