Today: Jul 17, 2024

CSUS attracts more students from urban communities


Connecticut state universities are seeing unprecedented numbers of students attending from Connecticut’s urban communities. The Connecticut State School System’s analysis of enrollment at the start of 2011-2012 showed New Haven broke 1,000 students attending for the first time and retained its position as having the second highest number of students.

New Haven was also the community with the largest increase in the number of students, up 149 students from a year ago to 1,083 while Hamden has 787 students attending state universities. Just over 93 percent of CSU students are from Connecticut, and 86 percent remain in the state after graduation.

“The interest is there from students from New Haven. I recruit all high schools in New Haven; the most applications came from Hamden High School,” said Timothy Belcher, assistant director of Admissions.

According to the CSU website, students are attracted to Connecticut state universities because of affordability, accessibility and the amount of academic programs being offered that have an eye towards workforce connections within the state.

“We have become a school of choice for a lot of students with the programs that we offer. We definitely are becoming one of the top universities in Connecticut that students are looking to go to for a wide range of reason,” said Belcher. “Being in an urban area, there is a lot more to do. New Haven has a lot to do and offer students; it’s a big attraction. Being a state university is attractive as well.”

Top 10 towns and cities with students attending CSUS in 2011

Danbury – 1,401

New Haven – 1,083

Hamden – 787

Waterbury – 782

Bristol – 715

Milford – 704

Hartford – 696

Wallingford – 684

New Britain – 681

Bridgeport – 679 

More than 36,000 students from 196 towns and cities in Connecticut attend the four universities, which include Central, Southern, Eastern, and Western. In recent years, the number of full-time students and undergraduate students has grown dramatically. According to Belcher, this year’s freshmen class had a greater enrollment of students than last year’s and Southern has now become a top three choice for students in the New Haven area high schools.

Fall SCSU applications from New Haven and High Schools

Hamden – 123

Wilbur Cross – 66

Hillhouse – 57

Career – 48

Cooperative Arts Humanities – 28

Amistad Academy – 23

High Scool in the Community – 16

New Have Academy – 11

Hyde – 7

Sound School – 4

Overall enrollment however, has slipped slightly this year by about 2 percent, after several years of record-level increases. Connecticut state universities have also had an all-time high of 7,192 undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates in 2011, the third consecutive year with an increasing number. 

“We focus squarely on Connecticut, with 93 percent of our students from the state and 86 percent staying here after graduation,” said Louise H. Feroe, acting chancellor of the Connecticut State University System, in a press release. “Our tuition is among the lowest in the region, and collaborations with local businesses, non-profit agencies and community-based organizations provide tremendous opportunities, while at school and in the job market after graduation.”      

According to the CSU website, it has been estimated that by the year 2020, 47 percent of the state’s 25 to 29-year-olds will be individuals of color. The success of Hispanic students in higher education also continues to change. 

CSUS is one of the original participants in Access to Success, a project of the National Association of System Heads and The Education Trust. It now includes 20 public higher education systems that have pledged to cut the college-going and graduation gaps for low-income and minority students who traditionally come from urban communities by 2015.    

“We must continue to reach out to our urban communities, work with community colleges and strengthen our collaborative efforts with K-12 educators in our cities and across the state. These numbers should provide substantial encouragement to accelerate those collaborations,” said Feroe.

Together, these institutes serve more than 3 million students. Each of the state universities is developing and implementing specific strategies designed to improve both access and college completion. The Undergraduate Open House was held Sunday, Oct. 23 and according to Belcher, over 3,000 students were in attendance.


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