Ojakian Presents Helpful Tuition Options

Angela Fortuna, Editor-in-Chief

A proposal to potentially give qualifying colleges and universities free tuition or other financial aid options was presented to the Connecticut Board of Regents last week.

Tuition for the upcoming spring is on the table after Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) President Mark Ojakian laid out a few options to the Board of Regents that could benefit some students.

“Because of our combined efforts, I believe we are more stable than we were three years ago, and the role we play in shaping the future of Connecticut is more visible,” Ojakian said in an email. “Therefore, we must continue to be bold as we look towards the future and find the best path forward for our students and our institutions.”

“We should be creative and examine different strategies to keep higher education affordable for our students. This is only the beginning of the conversation,” Ojakian noted in his email.

Some of the proposed tuition models include:

  • A tuition and fee freeze: Determine a set period where tuition and fees do not increase at all.
  • A tuition, flat fee rate guarantee: Students pay the same rate, perhaps for three years (colleges) and five years (universities), provided they attend full-time.
  • Free tuition for all colleges and universities with established criteria to qualify.
  • Tuition and fee rebate: Upon graduation, refund to students some percentage of their cost of education.
  • Free last semester: This would “forgive” 1/4 of the cost of education for a full-time college student and 1/8 of the cost for a university student.
  • Statewide “Promise” program: Connecticut currently has a few city-based Promise programs, but no statewide effort or state funding.

The details regarding each tuition model are yet to be determined. The options presented will all be considered prior to the decision regarding tuition next spring.

“I must emphasize again that these are preliminary ideas and simply the beginning of an important discussion which could determine our tuition policy in the future. Over the next several months, we hope to receive input from stakeholders on all campuses,” Ojakian stated of the proposed tuition models.

Although the tuition models were just proposed, students benefitting from these or similar changes is a big possibility, as Ojakian said he wants students to benefit from the CSCU system’s stability.

“If CSCU is to remain accessible to all Connecticut residents and we are serious about student success, we must think differently about our approach to affordability for all of our students,” Ojakian concluded.