Tuition will not increase next semester
Madeline Scharf – Reporter
University tuition will not increase in the upcoming semester. The Board of Regents (BOR) has agreed on a complete tuition freeze next semester for all CSCU colleges.
The last year has been difficult for many people. According to a Congressional Research Study updated in Jan. 2021, “COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant effect on unemployment in every state, industry and major demographic group in the United States.”
A significant strain has thus been added for many, including those paying for college. With unemployment affecting those from many different backgrounds, the CSCU colleges decided to step in.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Connecticut students particularly hard,” said CSCU President Interim Jane Gates in a release posted Mar. 25. “The Board of Regents, recognizing that we cannot ask our students and their families to shoulder a greater share of the burden during these difficult times, made the wise but difficult decision to freeze tuition and most fees for the upcoming academic year.”
According to the March 25 Board of Regents agenda release, Southern will not see an increase in tuition. “The tuition and mandatory fees proposal for FY2022 (Fiscal Year 2022) reflects zero increase for all in-state undergraduate/graduate commuting students and for residential students,” from page 185 of the memo.
While a few programs, such as the UPASS system, will have an increased fee, mandatory tuition payments will remain as they were for the upcoming fiscal year. Unfortunately, freezing tuition has potential consequences. In the press release, BOR Chair Matt Fleury raises concerns about what the current tuition freeze may mean for future tuition costs.
“CSCU’s labor contracts, which drive 85 percent of its total $1.2 billion in expenses, could cost more than can be sustained, forcing tuition to go up,” said Fleury.
This means there is not enough money to keep tuition frozen, and it could result in later inflation.
Fleury said, “the effects of the pandemic on student experiences and higher education could last longer than expected and be more dramatic than anticipated.”
Enrollment at many colleges has dropped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, “postsecondary enrollments declined 2.5 percent in fall 2020, nearly twice the rate of enrollment decline reported in fall 2019.”
This will have a significant effect on the CSCU budget. With lower enrollment and a frozen tuition rates, it is likely that in the future, tuition rates will once again increase.
An article in the Hartford Courant cites Chairman Matt Fleury as cautious, saying he “noted that future tuition increases were not off the table.”
Not all Connecticut State Universities experience the same level of benefits. In the BOR Agenda release, Central Connecticut State University has a different budgeting level compared to Southern.
Central also has a different proposal. The tuition and fee proposal for FY22 (Fiscal Year 2022) reflects a reduction to food service plan of $542, or 2.1% decrease cost for all students that participate in the plan.
Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, CCSU eliminated all online fees, normally charged as $50 per online course and charged part-time online students the same registration fee as part-time on-ground students.
There is no reason given in the agenda release as to why Central will receive this reduction and other CSU will not.
“Our colleges and universities must have sufficient state funding from the legislature; and we must have a continued recovery from the pandemic,” said Fleury.
Photo credit: Roma Rositani