HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — As the cost of attending state universities continues to rise, community college students in Connecticut worry that they are next even though there isn’t a proposal to raise tuition.

Students rallied in Hartford Wednesday, saying they’d hurt from a tuition hike.

“Please don’t hurt us by not allowing us to serve our community.,” Manchester Community College student Carol Lopez said. “Don’t let these hikes hurt us. We are just trying to learn.”

Lopez is a 43-year-old mother of two and in her third year at Manchester Community College, studying to become a drug and alcohol counselor. The burden of her bills, however, outweighs her income.

“We’ve been faced with homelessness, not having food, or even the medical supplies we sometimes need for my son,” Lopez said.

Last fall, the Board of Regents for Higher Education approved a 3% tuition increase at Central, Eastern, Southern, and Western State Universities. It announced it’d consider an increase for its 12 community colleges later.

The current cost of tuition for Connecticut community college is $4,700.

“At a certain point, we have to take a step back and say, ‘wait a minute. We’re no longer making community college accessible to the exact student population that we’re here to serve,'” said Seth Freeman, the Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges president.

That student population has dropped over the last decade.

“When you face an issue like declining enrollment, and then you add on top of it increased tuition, what I fear is a death spiral,” State Sen. Derek Slap (D-West Hartford) said.

Connecticut State Colleges and Universities said there are no current plans to raise tuition.

“It is important to note that the Board of Regents has not yet taken action on tuition rates for the 2023-24 academic year, and, in fact, there is no tuition proposal for the community colleges currently on the table,” spokesperson Leigh Appleby said.

Despite this, the students say they will continue to speak out. They have a rally scheduled outside Hartford’s board of regents office on Jan. 28 at noon.