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Connecticut Community College Tuition, Fees To Increase 6.4 Percent

By KATHLEEN MEGAN

February 24, 2010

Connecticut Community College students will be facing a 6.4 percent hike in tuition and fees next fall a slightly higher percentage increase than at other state-operated colleges or universities.

However, in dollar terms, the increase for a full-time student is comparatively small $206 for the year because tuition is so low.

"The percentage sounds high," said Mark S. Herzog, chancellor of the system, "but the dollar amount is not."

Next year, full-time students will pay $3,406 in tuition and fees.

Herzog said the increase is slightly more than it might have been because the colleges had to address what has been a shortfall in the coverage of energy costs. "We had been drawing down on our reserves to pay for energy bills," Herzog said.

Last week the University of Connecticut Board of Trustees approved a 5.66 percent increase in tuition for in-state students and a 4.5 percent increase in general university fees. Combined, tuition and mandatory fees for next year are 5.36 percent higher than this year, or $530 more.

Commuters at Connecticut's four smaller state universities Central, Eastern, Southern and Western will pay an average of 6.3 percent more in tuition and fees next year, or about $477 more.

The increase for the community college system was approved at the end of 2008 and included tuition increases for the current academic year a 7 percent increase and for the 2010-11 academic year.

Herzog said the community colleges set the increases two years at a time to ease budget planning for both the colleges and the students.

Like the other public colleges, the community college budget is squeezed by what has been a decline in state funding. In fiscal 2008, the system received $160.5 million in state funding; next year, it will be $158 million. At the same time, enrollment has been increasing steeply; it's up 11.7 percent in full-time-equivalent students this spring, compared with last spring.

Bisu Gupta, a West Hartford student studying nursing at Capital Community College, said that any increase in tuition is a problem for students at community colleges because "students cannot afford all the expenses right now at this time."

Peter Harris, director of enrollment at Manchester Community College, said he expects that there might be an outcry from students over the increase, but "at our college we will use all of our resources to kind of fill the gap" with various financial aid and scholarship options.

He doesn't expect any students will have to drop out. He said: "It's still the best bargain around."

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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