CSCU turning to the state for financial help as pandemic continues

Connecticut

Conn. (WTNH) — The president of Connecticut State Colleges and Universities is turning to the state for financial help as the coronavirus pandemic continues.  

CSCU President Mark Ojakian sent a letter to Governor Ned Lamont and legislative leaders on Monday. 

In it, he pointed to “enrollment declines, fewer students in residence halls and on campuses, and unforeseen expenses, all related to COVID-19” for their budget strains, “putting the financial health of CSCU institutions in critical condition.”

The letter goes on to say, “Without additional state and federal funding, serious cuts threatening student-facing services and the long-term viability of our institutions will have to be considered.”

Ojakian told News 8 CSCU faces a $90 million deficit, but they are able to take some corrective action.  He said a few of those cost-saving measures being considered include, implementing a hiring freeze and reducing overtime.  

“We’ve also reached out to our collective bargaining union leaders and asked them if they would come to the table and consider concessions,” said Ojakian.

He’s now hoping the state can step in, providing CSCU the roughly $70 million they need. Ojakian said the other option is to take all of the deficit out of reserves, which is something he doesn’t want to do.

“We’re going to be making another request to our federal delegation that they include higher education dollars in the next Cares funding, which will hopefully be approved in Congress,” added Ojakian.

Meanwhile, UConn faces a projected $76 million deficit. UConn submitted a request to state officials, hoping to receive $28 million in assistance.

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“We’ve got a lot of folks coming to us right now,” said Governor Ned Lamont, when asked about these requests on Tuesday. “I’m going to do everything I can to help out our state university system.”

READ: Full letter from CSCU to Gov. Lamont regarding strained budget due to pandemic

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