A plan to merge Connecticut’s 12 state-run community colleges into one system received mixed reviews at a legislative hearing in Hartford on Tuesday.
Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, told members of the state legislature’s Higher Education and Employment Committee that the plan to merge the 12 community colleges would cut 190 administrative jobs, save the state $28 million a year and direct more resources to students.
“I continue to believe that if we don’t focus on those areas that affect students most directly we are going to hurt the students that need us the most.”
But several lawmakers, including Representative Terrie Wood, a Darien Republican, were unconvinced that the plan would help students.
“My general concern is that when you go to this big top down structure, you lose that autonomy, you lose that grassroots investment, you lose that individual voice that creates that rich experience in the local level.”
The plan to merge Connecticut’s 12 community colleges goes to the New England Association of Schools and Colleges for accreditation in March. Its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education says this will be the largest college merger in the country it’s ever had to accredit.