With so much uncertainty surrounding the state’s financial future, the Connecticut State Colleges and University System is already coming up with cost-saving measures.
Without the recently approved tuition hikes for colleges and universities, CSCU System President Mark Ojakian said next year’s deficit from funding cuts could have exceed $30 million.
“Right now, under best case scenario we’re looking at 18 million dollars,” Ojakian told NBC Connecticut.
Ojakian sent a letter asking school presidents to let employees know about voluntary furlough programs. He would also like employees planning to retire next year to let their colleges and universities know now.
“Given our current fiscal reality and the uncertainty around a final Fiscal Year 2017 budget, we must explore all conceivable strategies for increasing revenue and decreasing expenditures,” Ojakian said. “I am hopeful that these steps will identify volunteer opportunities to save resources while at the same time we explore other cost saving measures.”
Taha Shabazz is about to graduate from Southern Connecticut State University.
“It’s kind of crazy,” he said, “How these budget cuts are affecting me as a student.”
Shabazz said he supports cost saving measures to minimize cuts that could impact future students.
“Library staffing is shorter and they’re shorter hours,” he said, “Less resources to go around for all the students.”
Despite the difficult financial situation, Ojakian said the goal is to continue providing quality, accessible and affordable education for more than 88 thousand students in the system.
“We are doing everything we can to prepare for some very hard discussion on around how we address our deficit for next year,” he said.
A spokesperson for Southern Connecticut State University said 250 faculty and staff are eligible for normal retirement by July 1, 2017.