College Consolidation Plan Is Rejected

April 24, 2018

Rep. Gregg Haddad, House chairman of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, issued the following statement Tuesday after the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) rejected the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities’ proposal to consolidate the state’s 12 community colleges.

“No matter where you stood on the specific proposal to consolidate 12 community colleges into one accredited institution, we have arrived at a point in time where the budget outlook for public higher education in Connecticut is bleak and we have no plan to fix the situation.

“I am deeply concerned for our public colleges. We have 17 educational institutions that are run by the Board of Regents and 16 of them are losing money. The losses are substantial on an annual basis and according to projections the college system will be insolvent in two years if nothing changes.

“I am concerned that the state’s 12 community colleges that provide opportunities and train our future workers are at risk. Legislators have some deep thinking to do and we must make action to prevent schools from closing or seeing tuition rates skyrocket. We have to figure out how to put our entire college system back on solid financial ground.

“The current system is financially unsustainable because of three reasons:

  • A reduction in enrollment, a trend that is happening nationwide as the number of young people declines
  • The regrettable, deep reductions the state appropriated block grants that the state has provided to the Board of Regents to run the Connecticut State University system and the community colleges
  • The added cost to our institutions for helping us pay off old unfunded pension liability.

“There is no plan to address the shortfall the system is facing,” Haddad said.