WNPR

What's Next For Connecticut's Community Colleges?

Jun 22, 2018

The Board of Regents for the Connecticut State College and University system has unanimously approved a new plan to consolidate the state’s community colleges. This comes after an accrediting body rejected a previous proposal to merge the 12 community colleges into one “Community College of Connecticut”.  

The newly approved plan would eventually create a single accredited institution in 2023, after a transitional period of partial consolidation. This hour, Mark Ojakian, President of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System joins us in studio to explain the new plan and take your questions.

Other states have attempted to consolidate higher education to save money and better serve students. We talk with reporter from the Chronicle of Higher Education about trends in other parts of the country. What can Connecticut learn from other states? We also check in on a Tennessee program that provides free community college to its high school graduates.

Are you a community college student or faculty member? We want to hear from you.

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

GUESTS:

  • Mark Ojakian - President, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities
  • Lee Gardner - Senior Reporter at Chronicle of Higher Education (@_lee_g)
  • Emily Siner - News Director at Nashville Public Radio. She frequently reports on higher education in Tennessee (@SinerSays)

READING LIST: 

Connecticut Mirror: Regents approve plan to consolidate community colleges in 2023 – “The governing board of Connecticut’s 12 community colleges voted Thursday to move forward with implementing a new plan to merge the schools into a single accredited institution — but this time in five years.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education: How Maine Became a Laboratory for the Future of Public Higher Ed (Lee Gardner, February 2018) – “These factors make the Maine system the canary in the coal mine for the challenges that public colleges face in many states. But these same factors have also compelled the state system and its institutions to embark on a bold and, in some respects, inchoate strategy to adapt. As a result, Maine has become a de facto laboratory for the future of sustainable public higher education.”

NPR: A Degree With Zero Student Debt. Does It Work? (Emily Siner, May 2018) - “For some students, the promise of free community college simply lured them away from a four-year university. But for many others, like Napier, the governor's new program completely changed their trajectory. Napier decided not to take the race car job and instead joined the inaugural cohort of Tennessee Promise students at Nashville State Community College, where freshman enrollment surged by more than a quarter compared to the previous fall."

Chion Wolf contributed to this show.