New UConn budget to add faculty, continue tuition and fee hikes

The University of Connecticut Board of Trustees is expected to adopt a new $1.2 billion budget Wednesday that adds 61 faculty positions and boosts student aid while increasing tuition and fees about 4 percent over the current academic year.

The board, which will meet on the main campus in Storrs, also will consider a $947 million spending plan for the 2014-15 fiscal year for the UConn Health Center in Farmington, home of the university’s medical and dental schools and the John Dempsey Hospital.

The new budget for the Storrs and regional campuses increases spending by $52 million or about 4.6 percent over the fiscal year that ends next week. Much of that growth is driven by contractually mandated increases in salaries and benefits.

The new positions include 35 faculty posts in science, technology and engineering. One year ago, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the legislature launched Next Generation Connecticut, a program designed to dramatically expand enrollment in engineering and related programs.

The new university budget also implements the third round in a four-stage tuition-and-fee hike schedule first adopted in late 2011. That was done on the heels of an unprecedented 15 percent cut in state support for UConn operations.

Tuition, room, board and other fees for Connecticut residents enrolled as undergraduates at the Storrs campus this fall will total $24,518, up 4.3 percent, with tuition alone rising 6.5 percent. For out-of-state residents, the total cost will be $44,698 — an increase of 5.3 percent — with tuition alone rising 6.5 percent.

Graduate students on the Storrs campus are facing similar tuition and fee increases.

The total cost for a Connecticut resident is $27,666, up 4.8 percent. And for an out-of-state graduate student, it is $47,138, up 5.5 percent.

But UConn officials also noted that the new budget includes $91.9 million in university funded financial aid.

That’s more than double the $42.6 million spent for that purpose in 2008.

The university estimates 30,808 students will take classes on the Storrs campus this fall.

The proposed budget for the health center is up 6.8 percent from the $887 million the university expects to spend this fiscal year.

The health center is projecting fringe benefit costs will increase about 14 percent in the new fiscal year, while salaries for faculty and non-faculty will rise by 5 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively.

This story originally appeared at CTMirror.org, the website of The Connecticut Mirror , an independent, nonprofit news organization covering government, politics and public policy in the state.



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