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Wednesday Weekly Special Edition: Report on Higher Ed

Today, our affiliate, ERN CT, released a new report analyzing completion rates and costs in Connecticut's four-year institutions of higher education. "Still Less for More" finds that several four-year colleges fail to graduate large percentages of their student populations— for all students or specifically for students of color—while also charging low-income students higher-than-average out-of-pocket costs. Read the full report here.

  • In the short term, these findings can help prospective students to better weigh their undergraduate options.

  • In the longer-term, however, the report sheds light on current budget negotiations, since it highlights a high level of institutional need.

The report is timely. As covered by Jessika Harkay in the CT Mirror last month, the budget recently endorsed by the Appropriations Committee would present a huge shortfall for the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities. It could lead to tuition hikes for students, making public postsecondary options even less affordable. State budget talks continue this week between the Lamont Administration and legislative leaders, and are expected to be finalized in the coming days.

In a press statement regarding the new research, ERN CT Executive Director Amy Dowell offered: “Calls to prioritize workforce development ring hollow in the context of an ongoing statewide austerity campaign and stringent spending cap that is leaving many institutions in financial distress—and these burdens are being passed on to students.” A Hearst CT story by Alex Putterman quotes Amy as explaining further, "The truth of the matter is a lot of these colleges are strapped for resources themselves. They're taking very high need students, students who might not be prepared for college when they get there, and they lack the resources to provide scaffolding for them once they're there.""

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