Uncertainty after plan to merge all state community colleges fails

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NORWALK -

A plan called “Students First” that would combine all 12 of Connecticut’s community colleges won’t be moving forward in the immediate future.

In the wake of the plan’s failure, community colleges face uncertainty, and students and faculty are worried about tuition hikes and school closings.

The plan’s goals were to prevent tuition hikes and campus closures and to preserve student services.

Those in favor of the proposal say it would have saved the cash-strapped education system an estimated $28 million through reduced administrative costs and other expenses.

Critics of the plan were concerned it was moving forward too quickly and that academic programs and the accreditation process would suffer.

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the accrediting agency for Connecticut State Colleges and Universities agreed, and voted down the proposal.

Now each college will have to navigate financial hurdles as individual institutions.

Norwalk Community College President Dr. David Levinson said, “Clearly there’s going to be challenges and we are under no illusion as such, and so our plan really is what we can do at home to further streamline our administrative operations but also to raise more revenue.”

The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities president says the group will be reviewing all options, including tuition raises and campus closures, in the coming days.

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