Board of Regents to address proposal to merge 12 community colleges

Education

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Leaders with the state’s Board of Regents are met this morning to address several proposals, including one that would merge the 12 community colleges into one.

The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) system’s president Mark Ojakian says the plan would save the community college system an estimated $28 million.

“If we implement the consolidated community college approach in two years we will see actually more money going into reserves and more money going into support services for students,” said Ojakian.

Ojakian says the proposal eliminates presidents at individual campuses and streamlines administration and budget positions into one main staff. That means a loss of 190 jobs within the next 3 years none of which will impact the quality of education.

“This does not touch faculty or learning or teaching at all. But, change is hard. So, I think my challenge is going to be to bring people to understand this is not going to impact how they teach their class, how their institution operates, how foundations give to the local campuses. What this is meant to do is open up the borders of our campuses to all students,” said Ojakian.

Board members say the proposal is getting high marks from students as the alternative would be to raise tuition, more than doubling it over the next five years. With budget cuts at the Capitol, Ojakian says the once college one accreditation plan is the way to go.

“If we don’t do anything making assumptions on state support and tuition in two years we will have no reserves left. We will be operating in a negative position,” said Ojakian.

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