Community colleges impacted by rejection to consolidate schools

Education

Three Rivers Community College provides opportunity for many students.

Whether it’s getting a degree in accounting, nursing, or getting special training to enter into the submarine manufacturing industry, students count on the college to get ahead in life.

“I’m getting to fulfill my dream of becoming a nurse someday,” said student Lori Fella of Moosup.

Three Rivers is one of the state’s 12 community colleges which the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) wanted to consolidate. But now, that’s not going to happen. 

The accrediting agency, New England Association of Schools & Colleges, or NEASC, has turned down CSCU’s money-saving proposal.

Related: Plan to consolidate leadership of Connecticut community colleges rejected

Mark Ojakian, president of CSCU says this will be “devastating” and could lead to tuition hikes or campus closures.

“I’d probably have to travel a long way an hour or so,” said Fella.

“I got a 2-year-old and a newborn on the way and I’m working,” said student Mark Simmert of Norwich.

He says he can’t afford to travel farther than the Norwich campus. He’s majoring in business administration with a concentration in marketing.

“And then I’m also going to come back and get my certificate in graphic design and eventually I’m going to open my own repair shop,” said Simmert.

“They actually have a nuclear engineering technology program here,” said student Nathan Reigles of Montville

That program is the only one in the state and Reigles hopes it will help land him a job at the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant which has invested a lot in the school.

In addition to the degree programs, there are also several non-credit courses that are aimed at getting people trained so they can get into the workforce.

The manufacturing pipeline trains welders for Electric Boat. The school also provides a food pantry and Narcan training. 

“I think this school is very, very in touch with what the students need,” said Reigles.

Students don’t want that to change.

“With people not being able to continue their education that drops the economy which is something that Connecticut can’t really afford either,” said Simmert.

This school is part of the community and students say it is an important part of their success. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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