Testimony Before the Appropriations Committee
February 16, 2023
Amy Dowell, Executive Director
Co-Chairs Osten and Walker, Vice-Chairs Hartley, Exum, and Paris, Ranking Members Berthel and Nuccio, and members of the Appropriations Committee–thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony on the implications of the Governor’s Proposed Budget for higher education agencies.
We were pleased to see that the proposal would continue the debt-free community college program, but it would also decrease aid to higher education units overall over the biennium. Now, as the state celebrates a budget surplus, is the time to invest in the institutions of higher education that will help students and employers to be successful.
In 2019, Education Reform Now CT released a report that analyzed rates of completion and costs in Connecticut’s 4-year colleges. We identified that: (1) Too many institutions of higher education had low rates of completion; (2) almost half charged exceptionally high average net prices to students from low-income families, as compared to their national peers; and (3) a set of colleges falls into both categories–offering students low graduation rates in exchange for high prices.
This analysis raises serious concerns about how well equipped our institutions of higher education are to meet the needs of the students who enroll. Reducing their funding would only make matters worse.
There is a crisis of affordability and access to high-quality higher education in this state. If we are committed to retaining top talent and boosting Connecticut’s economy, now is the time to increase investments in higher education.