Connecticut Senate Democrats Want to Make College Less Expensive | Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut Senate Democrats Want to Make College Less Expensive

Mar 12, 2015

State Senate Democrats are hoping to place a limit on administrative costs at public colleges to help reduce the cost of tuition.

In 2009, student debt accounted for the smallest portion of overall household debt. It's now the largest portion of household debt, aside from home mortgages, according to the credit reporting agency Equifax.

So Senate Democrats are proposing a bill that would cap administrative costs at Connecticut's 18 public colleges. They cited concerns over hefty salary increases, and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on consultants to boost enrollment. 

But not everyone sees this plan as a good idea.

During the public hearing testimony in February, Erika Steiner, the CFO of Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, says some administrative costs have direct student impact. 

"Placing a cap on expenses, while promoting the idea of responsible management, may in fact have the opposite effect," Steiner said. 

At CCSU, for example, administrative spending is used on IT services that run the entire college system.

Meanwhile, Governor Dannel Malloy has proposed cutting education spending over the next two years.

School leaders have said Malloy’s proposed cuts would lead to tuition increases, which is what Senate Democrats are trying to mitigate by capping administrative costs.

"The priority for state dollars in higher education should be on providing services to students and limiting tuition increases, and we should know exactly where financial aid dollars are being spent," said Sen. Bob Duff of Norwalk. 

Tuition at the state's public colleges has nearly doubled over the last ten years. 

See more from the press conference in the video below: