CHAIRMEN: Senator Bye

Representative Willis

MEMBERS PRESENT:

SENATORS: Boucher, Cassano

REPRESENTATIVES: Ackert, Alberts,

Bacchiochi, Candelaria,

Dillon, Haddad, Hurlburt,

Janowski, Lavielle,

LeGeyt, Maroney, Sanchez,

Sawyer, Sayers, Walker

SENATOR BYE: I now call the next public hearing of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee hearing to order. Just give us one sec to get organized here.

A VOICE: Who's presiding (inaudible)?

SENATOR BYE: (Inaudible). Okay. I'm going to call up, first is Dr. Phil Austin. Is Dr. Austin here? Okay. I will call up Jane Ciarleglio. Good afternoon, Jane. How are you today?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: I'm not sure this is a good idea for me to start when you all haven't had lunch, but --

SENATOR BYE: Good afternoon. We had lunch.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Okay. Senator Bye, Representative Willis, Senator Boucher, and Distinguished Members of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, thank you for the opportunity to offer testimony in support of Governor's Bill 844, AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE BUDGET RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE GOVERNOR CONCERNING HIGHER EDUCATION. I will keep my formal remarks brief so that Mark French, our associate director of student financial aid, may present on the proposed scholarship program.

Let me begin with a few comments on the proposed fees for academic program approval contained in this bill. A recent survey of states' practices for approval of higher education institutions indicated that only four of the 48 responding states and the District of Columbia do not charge fees for some aspect of program approval.

Those states are Connecticut, Maine, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. The survey also finds that New England states charge fees in the middle range for program approval, neither at the high or the low end of possible fees charged. The chart that's attached to my written testimony shows fees assessed in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and the revenue that they generated in 2010, '11, and '12.

This chart is the basis for developing a set of fees for Connecticut. Based on actual program approval activities in Connecticut from 2010 through 2012, the proposed fees could, would have generated a minimum of $250,000, on par with the amounts generated by both Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

These fees would be applied to the program approval process of independent colleges which fall within our agency's purview. We currently charge similar fees for the approval of proprietary institutions commonly known as private occupational schools.

Now let me turn to the proposed student financial aid program. Most of you know that Connecticut's major current state financial aid programs consist of three programs, two need-based programs, the Connecticut Aid to Public College Students Grant or CAPCS, the Connecticut Independent College Student Grant known as CICS, and the merit- and need-based program called Capitol Scholarship. The proposed new budget combines these programs into one single supported by a state appropriation.

An advantage of this approach is to both you, students, and all of you in that any future changing, change in state aid funding, either up or down, will be distributed equally among all students no matter whether they attend a public or an independent college. The past history of institutions fighting over scarce resources does us all, I think, a great disservice.

The new program serves the same student population of CAPCS, CICS, and the Capitol Scholarship but, for the first time, provides that student aid will be disbursed based on common goals across all institutions and will be measured, again, for the first time, on the state's objectives of access, retention, and completion for students.

I emphasize students, as this proposal, without question, presents a major shift in policy to make the provision of state financial aid student- and family-centered, not institutionally based. Further, it encourages students to complete their educations as quickly as possible, a key goal across the nation and I know for this General Assembly.

This shift in policy toward state goals is driven, in large part, by the General Assembly's Results-Based Accountability Initiative, which fortunately gave us the tools to look at the data for the first time in 30 years.

This new data has helped us in the redesign of a single set of common, uniform, and transparent state goals under which, for the first time, students will receive the same amount of aid according to the need they exhibit each year of their education no matter the type of institution they attend.

Above all, this straightforward and transparent approach provides fairness. It eliminates inconsistencies such as the following. Last year, a student with a family middle six figure income and an expected family contribution of $45,000 at one school received a state grant of $2,450 because the family, despite their financial wherewithal, still showed need, while a student at another school with a low five-figure income and a $7500 expected family contribution received $500.

Under the new program, the first student would not receive an award. The student in the second instance would receive a $2500 reward. In another example from last year, the average award for all students combined in the CAPCS program was $1465.

But, for example, the award at Tunxis Community College was $1868, and the average award at Gateway was $755. For the CICS program, the average award was $3,628, but the average award at Quinnipiac was $5,676, while the average award at St. Vincent's was $1229.

It's important to note that these examples are not institutional mistakes, and this approach did not, new approach did not result from any mistakes made in the past. In fact, generally, no institution over the years has administered the program improperly.

However, now that we have data from both public and private sectors showing these inconsistencies in the way students are treated, it is abundantly clear that all three programs in Connecticut should adhere to a single set of standards and goals that will help both students and their families plan for college and make college completion a reality.

As designed now, this new combined state scholarship program will be used for tuition and fees paid by full-time students only. It is important to say that we have heard you, we have heard everybody, and we are certainly open to discussions about, to discussions about covering books and certain part-time students.

Keep in mind this program is only one form of financial aid that institutions may award. The publics have tuition set-aside dollars, and the privates have institutional aid, which they can and do award to students as incentives to enroll in their respective colleges. In addition, both sectors have federal funding available.

With this context at mind, let me now turn to Mark French, who will provide you with more detail in his naturally crisp and concise way, because he actually is the one that knows this stuff. Mark's presentation is attached to the testimony. We're also available and commit to working, to continue to work with you and LCO and anybody else to try to work out any of the technical problems and changes that may be needed. Thank you.

SENATOR BYE: Thank you, Jane. Representative Willis wants to start with some of what we've talked about and –

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Do you want –-

SENATOR BYE: -- give some clarity to the Committee. Can we have just this?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Oh, sure, sure.

SENATOR BYE: I think it's important.

REP. WILLIS: (Inaudible) state, right. First of all, thank you very much. Obviously, this has been a, financial aid is very important, and over the years we've, a few years back, we did increase it substantially in Connecticut, which was a good thing. But the problem has always been the challenge of the public monies, scholarships versus the private dollars.

And we've always been very conflicted and feeling like human taffy being pulled apart by both institutions, you know, institutions that, you know, want a fair piece of the pie. That being said, this is kind of refreshing to have a situation where it's not institution-based, but it's a student base. That's the good part.

The part that concerned us, and I think it's important to say this to Committee Members and to members of, people who are listening and people out here in the audience, is the whole concept of not including part-times was a major, is a major non-starter --

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Mm-hmm.

REP. WILLIS: -- for Members of the General Assembly who discussed this, we've discussed this. So I do want people to know that we are talking with you and your office and the administration, because we have to put part-timers back here. It does disadvantage our community college students primarily.

They're the ones that would be greatly affected by this. So we're very sensitive to that, and we also want to thank the administration and you, Jane, and your office for recognizing that as well and willingness to work to make that happen.

The other question I have and want to clarify something, so the bill now says full time, and so we know we're going to work on that. But it also says first time. Could you speak to, because we didn't really have a conversation about the aspect of first time, so could you share the thinking behind that?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yes, and I think that that's somehow just sort of been a problem with language. And, you know, we do have some technical things that we have to change in the bill.

It has always been the intention that by first time we mean by degree. So the issue of someone entering community college as a first-time student and then transferring to a four-year institution, any four-year institution, public or private, that person would, that's, we want them to complete. That will happen, that currently happens, it will continue to happen so that by first time we mean first time. One degree you get.

You get one associate's degree, and you get one bachelor's degree, so that's what that, that's what we mean by that. So you can't get two associate's degrees, and you can't qualify if you have two bachelor's degrees.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. So this would not, that helps tremendously. I think we've discussed that a little bit.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yep.

REP. WILLIS: But that, I think, clarifies it a lot more. And it also wouldn't affect somebody who, say, started at the community college in one degree or one certificate program and then went on, changed their mind, and decided to go into another field at a CSU.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: No, certificate programs don't qualify now, so certificates are different. But, yes, it doesn't have to do with the field that you're in. It has to do with your degree level.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. Thank you. With that, thank you very much. Mark, you were going to go from there?

MARK FRENCH: Yes, thank you. Mark French with the Office of Higher Education. I'd like to do a brief overview of the program and what's proposed. You all have the presentation, I believe, in front of you. And because this is student centered, I'd like to start with student eligibility.

Much of it is similar to the existing programs -- obviously, first, to be a Connecticut resident, attend a Connecticut public two- or four-year college or private not-for-profit college, file a free application for federal student aid or FAFSA, have an EFC within the acceptable range for the school type he or she will attend, be in an undergraduate program of study leading to his or her first associate or bachelor's degree, as we just discussed, and as this presentation was put together, attend on a full-time basis.

To receive the merit scholarship version, the student would need to meet all of the six items above and in addition submit a completed merit scholarship application to our office, be in the top 20th percentile of his or her junior year high school class, and/or have a minimum SAT score of 1800 or a minimum ACT score of 27. Those are the same requirements as we currently have for the Capitol Scholarship Program.

I want to now look at the formula, how this will be distributed to the schools, and then we'll look at how it will actually be awarded to the students. For the community college formula, we have an EFC range. And the EFC range runs from a zero EFC up to 7,999.

Now the EFC is the expected family contribution, which is determined as a result of filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, so the data on a student's FAFSA determines their individual EFC. This range was taken from the data that we have from the 2011-12 academic year, and it represents 80 percent of the students who received CAPCS money at the community colleges in that year. So it covers the majority of students who did receive funding in that year.

What will happen here is the student will look at their cost of tuition and fees and books, if we discuss that also but for now tuition and fees. So in my first example, we have tuition and fees of 3,490. This student is eligible for a full Pell Grant of $5,550. The difference is a zero or a negative $2,060. In this case, the student would not receive a Governor's Scholarship grant award.

In the next example to the right of that, a student with the same tuition receives an $1800 Pell Grant. The difference when we subtract the Pell Grant from the tuition and fees comes to $1,690. That student would then receive a Governor's Scholarship of $1,690. So for the neediest students at the community colleges, between their Pell Grant and the Governor's Scholarship, it will cover their tuition and fees for this formula.

Going beyond the Pell Grant students, the EFC range would cover from, and in the given year that I modeled this on, the cutoff for Pell Grant was $5,274, from there up to the $7,999 cutoff. You can see the award amounts would be from $3,000 down to a minimum of $500 for those students.

If we look at the four-year institution, it's slightly different here because of the fact that the tuition and fees charged at the four years' Pell Grant would not cover all of that, even the maximum Pell Grant. So we don't have to worry about that calculation.

But here also we looked at the EFC range where 80 percent of CICS and CAPCS money was given. And in this case, the EFC range runs from zero to 10,999. So if a student had an EFC within that range, depending on where they fall in the range, they would receive an award from 3,000 down to a minimum of 2,000.

Now if we can look at the community college institutional allocation model, again, we would look at it from the prior year. Now each year going forward, we will ask the schools to send to us a report that shows at the end of the prior year all their Connecticut residents who filed a FAFSA.

And from that, we will look at, in the case of the community colleges, how many students in the prior year had EFCs that fall within the eligible EFC range of zero to 7999, and we will add that up for all the community colleges, create one pool, so it will be one number of all those students who fell under the range at each individual school.

We then will determine a proportional amount of the grant dollars to give to each school. So my example shows, for example, a million dollars total. I made it simple for myself. Total pool of students would be $10,000 or 10,000 students.

College A has 5,000 eligible students from the prior year. College B has 3500, and College C has 1500. College A would receive 500,000 or 50 percent of the million dollars. College B would receive 35 percent or 350,000. College C would receive 15 percent or 150,000.

Moving on to the four-year institutional, it's a very similar concept we're going to look at from the year before, total number of students who filed a FAFSA who fall in the eligible EFC range of zero to 10,999. And, again, the same formula will be applied. Add those all up to one pool and determine what percentage of that overall pool each students in that range, each college and students in that range fall to, and they'll get a proportional amount.

The benefits of the program, student benefits provide for free tuition and fees for Connecticut's neediest community college students. The program allows for consistent treatment of students and award amounts regardless of type of two-year college a student attends, promotes persistence and completion by providing students the opportunity to receive more grant funding for exceptional academic performance.

What that refers to is what we're currently calling a kicker program, but it would be an academic incentive award, which would be added to any grant money a student may receive based on a certain level of academic performance from the prior year.

So we are still working on the overall determination, but we want to set aside a pool of money that students who excel will receive an additional amount on top of if they already got a $3,000 grant, but they receive an additional amount of money for the following year if they meet certain academic requirements, thus encouraging persistence and completion by giving them a bit of an added award.

Provide enhanced awards to students who excel in high school. Students are guaranteed to receive the same award amount if they should transfer from one four-year institution to the other regardless if it is between a public and a private institution.

And finally, talk briefly on the transition, because obviously if this program does pass, we would need to phase out the current CICS and CAPCS and Capitol Scholarship students. And this page speaks to that phase-out where we would ask schools to honor the CICS or CAPCS money they have already given to students who are returning.

So somebody who was a first-year student this year, next fall, if they got CAPCS money this year and, all things being equal, they meet the requirements for next year, they get the same CAPCS money. So those students are held harmless.

The Governor's Scholarship money would begin to be given out to the new incoming students in '13, '14. And the same would happen with our Capitol Scholarship Program that we administer. It would be the same phase in and phase out. Thank you.

SENATOR BYE: Thank you very much for that very clear explanation. And are you guys ready for questions? Is that --

JUNE CIARLEGLIO: Yep.

SENATOR BYE: All right. Representative Sawyer was first in my queue.

REP. SAWYER: If I might, I think I need a clarification on some of the verbiage that you gave us in your testimony. And you talked about six-figure income of an expected family contribution of $45,000.

And then you say that one school received a state grant of 24,500, so just to run it up a little more than two and a half thousand dollars. And then you compared it to a student with a low income and a 75, low five-figure income and 7500 family contribution, and they got $500.

So let me play this scenario out. You have a family with mid-six-figure income, and they are supporting elderly parents, and they are also supporting an ill multiply handicapped child that requires very great services that are not paid for by insurance that they're paying for out of their pocket, and they're facing a $45,000 tuition. And we are talking about only $2500 of that going back.

You know, when I look at needs-based, I think sometimes we see the main number of the family income and talk about not taking the whole picture in. And I have a family in mind that I'm talking about, a family that's struggled even though they, it looks like they have a high-figure income, but because of their personal circumstances, it's a huge problem. And how are they going to send their child off to this college? So if you would like to respond to that.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Sure.

REP. SAWYER: Thank you.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: And, again, I mean, this is what the EFC is based on, and I understand what you're saying. However, in that instance, you would hope that an institution that, again, has other forms of financial aid would understand how difficult it is for that family and award them additional financial aid out of their institutional, what, which, in whatever form that is institutionally, sure.

REP. SAWYER: But am I understanding then? Are you recommending that we, does the state change our formula?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: No.

REP. SAWYER: Okay.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Not at all.

REP. SAWYER: All right.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Oh, no, no, no, this is based on –-

REP. SAWYER: I'm just (inaudible). I should have said the last year (inaudible).

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yeah, no, no, no, no, no, absolutely no, no, no, no. And, Mark, if you want to –-

MARK FRENCH: Yes, another thing, that each individual school still has the ability to do under federal guidelines, they can do what's called professional judgment.

So for a family that you described who has additional exceptional expenses that are affecting their ability to pay for college, the individual colleges have the right to review that data with the family and actually make a change to their financial status on the FAFSA, which could lead to lowering an EFC. So potentially, the school could qualify that student depending on the circumstances and what effect it has on them financially.

REP. SAWYER: Thank you. I appreciate that.

SENATOR BYE: Thank you for that, and thank you for your answer. Representative Candelaria.

REP. CANDELARIA: Thank you, Madam Chair. Just a couple questions.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Mm-hmm.

REP. CANDELARIA: Why the consolidation?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: The consolidation of the three programs?

REP. CANDELARIA: Mm-hmm.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: I think exactly to what we talked about. It's a financial, a state financial aid program. It has one, it should have state goals and not institutional goals.

Again, this, it's probably time after 30 years to look at what the original intention was, and it was to enroll kids and to get them through school. But now we, our state goal should be completion, retention and completion. And the best way to do that is to have a single state financial aid program.

REP. CANDELARIA: It also talks about enhanced awards for students that excel in high school.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Mm-hmm. That could be --

REP. CANDELARIA: Could you give me an example of that?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: That's the, that would be what we currently call the Capitol Scholarship portion, which is the need- and the merit-based, so the top 20 percent of students throughout the state of Connecticut and high schools would apply for that. As long as they have need and they have, and they're in the top 20 percent, they would qualify.

REP. CANDELARIA: And I guess my last question would be within the governor's recommendation, we have seen a four million reduction of the grants. What would be the impact on awards to students if there's any?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Well, if, there's a reduction, so there would be an impact.

REP. CANDELARIA: Do we know how much that would impact based on previous year history?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Well, it's a $6 million, it's a redesign of the program, so it's kind of hard to compare apples to oranges, because it was a different set of goals, if you will. The neediest students in Connecticut we believe would be served in a better and fairer way with the reduction of funds in mind.

REP. CANDELARIA: So at the end of the day, this reduction really does impact our children, definitely. There's no other way of seeing it. And, yet, and I want to make this clear, yet we're, there's a discussion out there that our community, our colleges are considering, actually, the Board of Regents is considering to increase tuitions, and, yet, we're cutting grant funding, so there's a disconnect. Are we for education or are we for not? And we have to make that clear. Thank you, Jane. You do an excellent job. Thank you for your work.

SENATOR BYE: Thank you so much. Let me just follow up for the question, and thank you for that great question. So what I'm hearing you saying, if, I just want you to tell me if I'm right, is that what you're looking to do is distribute the money in a way that is more equitable –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yeah.

SENATOR BYE: -- that is particularly looking out for students who have lower incomes and is looking for ways to incentivize completion.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Absolutely.

SENATOR BYE: Okay.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yep.

SENATOR BYE: All right. Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD: Thank you for your testimony, and the PowerPoint presentation is, or the paper presentation is very helpful to understanding how this is going to work. First, I just wanted to comment on Representative Candelaria's comments, which I think he's got, he's onto something –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: He always is.

REP. HADDAD: -- when he says that the real problem here isn't how we're allocating the dollars, it's that there are fewer and fewer dollars being allocated.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Mm-hmm.

REP. HADDAD: And, you know, especially in light, you know, I mean, I represent a community with a large state university. Thirteen thousand undergraduates of my constituents are undergraduates at the University of Connecticut. They are being asked to pay higher and higher tuition rates, in part driven by reductions in block grants that we decide here, forced on us in large part by a terrible economy that is drying up revenues.

And at least when we cut the, but I will say at least when we took the action to cut the block grant, I consoled myself somewhat with the notion that we were preserving need-based scholarships. And that lasted for about five minutes, and we started slashing need-based scholarships.

And so that is very, been very frustrating to me, and I'm sure it's frustrating to a lot of people in the room as we discuss this issue. You talked a little bit about the differences between need-based grant portion of the program and the merit scholarship grant portion of the program, and I just wanted to ask about what the implication is of some certain language in the bill. It's in lines 445 to 450. I'll tell you what it is.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yep.

REP. HADDAD: The need- and merit-based grant shall be funded at not less than 20 percent of available appropriations.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Mm-hmm.

REP. HADDAD: So we set a floor for the amount of need- and merit-based grants. It says the need-based grant shall be funded at up to 80 percent, so we set a ceiling there. The discretion to determine where in that range we make the cutoff lies with who?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Well, I mean, there are, if you're asking are they arbitrary numbers, they are arbitrary numbers, but, remember, you want to try to keep the awards consistent. So, I mean, if you're going to go into it with a portion of it, and, remember, maybe we should say this differently, they're all need-based. There is one portion of it has a merit component, so they are all need-based, and that will always be looked at first, so –-

REP. HADDAD: Yeah, I mean, I guess I was just puzzled by the specific language of the bill though, because you say the need-based grant shall be funded at up to 80 percent, but I guess it could be zero. And you say the need- and merit-based grant shall be funded at not less than 20 percent, but I just, I mean, maybe we could clarify the language. Is it the goal that we should get as close to 20 percent and 80 percent –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yes.

REP. HADDAD: -- as possible, or is the goal to give complete discretion to determine –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: No, no.

REP. HADDAD: All right.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: If that's what your question is, absolutely not, yes.

REP. HADDAD: Thank you. That is my question, and I appreciate the response.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Okay. Yep. Okay.

REP. HADDAD: We'll probably work on some additional language maybe –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Sure, I'm, you know –-

REP. HADDAD: -- to clarify that.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yep.

SENATOR BYE: Okay. Representative Willis, did you –-

REP. WILLIS: Yeah, I, thank you, Jane, and I think you answered one of my questions about the need- and merit-based amounts and how that would be done. But I am confused. You could have the students that are merit-based, so it's merit and need combined.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Mm-hmm.

REP. WILLIS: It's like the old Capitol.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

REP. WILLIS: But their need, if you're factoring in merit, they may not be as needy as the ones in the 80 percent. Is that –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: No.

REP. WILLIS: Do they get a bigger bump? I mean, what's the advantage of being in merit?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Well, because you have merit along with need.

REP. WILLIS: Does it, well, I don't care about that if I'm a student as long as I'm getting more money. Are you getting (inaudible)?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: (Inaudible).

REP. WILLIS: Am I going to get, you know, if I apply for need, am I going to get 2,000, and if I get need/merit, am I going to get 2500?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Nancy, go ahead.

NANCY BRADY: Nancy Brady, the Office of Higher Education. The way the programs work today, for instance, you could get a Capitol Scholarship, and you can get a needs-based award from a school. In this particular piece, we've separated them, and we have said, if you get the merit award, you cannot have a need award also.

REP. WILLIS: But it is merit and need.

NANCY BRADY: But the merit award, the maximum need, the EFC, the maximum EFC is exactly the same. So if you didn't have the merit portion, you would be eligible on the need. It's exactly the same threshold. The merit students have the additional piece of having an academic merit, and so they're, that program has a slightly higher award.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: So we can answer (inaudible) question.

NANCY BRADY: And that's why if you're, if you get the merit award under the thought that the additional, the merit from the academic, just the way colleges recruit that if you –-

REP. WILLIS: Yeah, no, I was just, no, absolutely, and I was just trying to think –-

NANCY BRADY: -- that it encourages you that these students are encouraged to complete faster.

REP. WILLIS: Right.

NANCY BRADY: And so that's why if you get the higher merit award, you won't be eligible for the need award also.

REP. WILLIS: The second part is just frame of reference that I think may be important for Committee Members and people listening. We added financial aid, increased the funding of, to financial aid five years ago substantially --

JANE CIARLEGLIO: I think it was more like five or (inaudible) longer than that.

REP. WILLIS: -- correct, like $20 million?

A VOICE: Yeah.

A VOICE: 2008, $22 million.

A VOICE: Okay.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. So in 2008, we dramatically increased the amount in financial aid in Connecticut.

NANCY BRADY: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

REP. WILLIS: And we increased that from, do you remember, from what to what, because it was about 20 million more that we're putting in.

NANCY BRADY: It went from about in the 40 million category to the 60 million.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. So my question is where are we today in those numbers even with the $4 million cut? Are we ahead of where we, you know, I assume we're still pretty far ahead of where we were.

NANCY BRADY: We're still ahead of where we were.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. Could we see those numbers? I think it was –-

NANCY BRADY: As we left, I would say roughly –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yep.

NANCY BRADY: -- 12 million of the 22.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yep, we'll get the numbers.

NANCY BRADY: We left about half (inaudible), but we can get those for you.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: We actually have a chart set.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. So I think that it's –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yep.

REP. WILLIS: -- you know, in perspective –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yep.

REP. WILLIS: -- that substantial amounts of money were added. I mean, obviously, nobody wants to reduce financial aid, but we did have a huge bump in 2008. Okay. Thank you very much.

SENATOR BYE: Thank you. Thank you, Representative Willis. Representative LeGeyt.

REP. LEGEYT: Thank you, Madam Chair. Good afternoon, Jane.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Good afternoon.

REP. LEGEYT: Good afternoon, Mark. I have a couple questions, and they relate to the potential disparity between need considerations or aid considerations for public versus private four-year colleges. Certainly, cost of attendance is different.

And looking at your PowerPoint or your folder there and seeing that you have thresholds for four-year institutions, $11,000 basically, does that presume that a disparity in cost of attendance is not going to be considered in determining need-based aid?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Well, yeah. I mean, the, it, the, it, the federal calculation, and I understand that there is a disparity between tuitions for public and private, again, and that, if you will, under the current program we're talking about a student-centered, family-centered program with state goals in mind.

And, you know, you could have a student who knows what their award is going to be, and that will help them make their choice. There is a difference. There's no question about it, but, again, they have institutional aid for, in those institutions if they want to give those students financial aid.

REP. LEGEYT: But for purposes of the money that's coming through the state, that disparity is going to be increased, because presently with, you know, scholarship programs that are directly aimed at privates and publics, then there's a greater chance that the concern about increased cost of tuition, cost of attendance could be addressed, because there's a focus by the programs that presently exist as to where that money goes.

And so I'm concerned that when we aggregate all of those programs into one, whether it's the Governor's Scholarship or the Connecticut Scholarship Program, that the issue about cost of attendance is going to, you know, disappear as a concern, not positively. And I worry about that.

And this is almost a rhetorical question, but the, you know, the amount of money that the private colleges receive presently, is there any way to guarantee that that percentage of the total scholarship program under the new arrangement is going to provide the same amount of money to the privates that they get now?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Rhetorical, or do you want me, there's no guarantee to anything anywhere. No, and, no.

REP. LEGEYT: And there's no consideration to try to aim for the percentages that presently exist in the new program.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: It, no.

REP. LEGEYT: Okay.

SENATOR BYE: Thank you for those answers.

REP. LEGEYT: I have a couple more quick ones.

SENATOR BYE: Okay.

REP. LEGEYT: There's a minority set-aside presently.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Mm-hmm.

REP. LEGEYT: Is that being eliminated?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yeah, and the reason for that is that, again, it's a 30-year-old program. Those goals, if you will, from 30 years ago have, are far exceeded. I mean, it's not, it shouldn't be a goal anymore, because it's not a problem.

REP. LEGEYT: When there's a transition from the three programs that we have now to the scholarship programs being proposed, and students who are already in one of the three programs now will be able to continue to get their –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: That's correct.

REP. LEGEYT: -- funds until they finish –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Correct.

REP. LEGEYT: -- does that, is that going to required more money to do both?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: No.

REP. LEGEYT: How is that going to work then?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Because you're phasing people out under the current program, and you're going to have a different program for the new program.

REP. LEGEYT: So there'll be an allocation for CICS, let's say, for second-, third-, and fourth-year students?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Well, every year, yeah, yeah, and that's modeled on the information that we have. Yep, we have that.

REP. LEGEYT: Okay. Thank you, Madam Chair.

SENATOR BYE: Thank you for those questions. Just a really quick question. I think it's important for perspective to understand what percentage of the total aid package this makes up, because this is a tiny piece of students' financial aid.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yes.

SENATOR BYE: And what you're proposing is that we use it to incentivize things that are important to us, something along the line of the performance funding presentation that we just had.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Correct.

SENATOR BYE: Do you have any information about what proportion of the total financial aid distributed to Connecticut colleges this is?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: You know –-

SENATOR BYE: Or could you get that to us?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yes, we are working on that.

SENATOR BYE: Because I think it would be helpful if –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yes.

SENATOR BYE: -- the folks on the Committee could see a pie chart –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Mm-hmm.

SENATOR BYE: -- with the tiny slice that this is of the total aid –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yep.

SENATOR BYE: -- and understand your goals –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yeah.

SENATOR BYE: -- which is to take it out of institutions and give it directly to students. Representative Maroney, thank you for your patience, and then I believe that's it.

REP. MARONEY: Thank you very much. And Representative Willis had asked one of my questions about the merit component and what was the incentive if you could only get one or the other.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Mm-hmm.

REP. MARONEY: So essentially what we're doing is we're shifting from more of a EFCOG model, right, where we're giving a lump sum to the schools, to a Pell Grant-type of a model, correct, where we're determining you have this amount, and you choose the schools –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Mm-hmm.

REP. MARONEY: -- where you're going to. And looking through the numbers that you had given us, the average CICS award for a, so for the private school, the average award was $3,628.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Mm-hmm.

REP. MARONEY: Now the grant goes from 2,000 to $3,000 for the eligible students. So you're looking at a reduction of, you know, figuring it's going to be the average will be in the middle there around 2500, 2600, so –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Well, yeah, go ahead.

MARK FRENCH: Well, some of that reduction also is a result of the cuts to the overall financial aid budget. So potentially that would have occurred anyway.

REP. MARONEY: Right, so potentially the impact per student on average will be about $1,000 per student, is that somewhere in that at the private schools?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yes, sir.

REP. MARONEY: And it's hard to say –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: It's kind of hard, yeah.

REP. MARONEY: -- because of the way they distributed it, and –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Right.

NANCY BRADY: Exactly right. It, from our examples, you can see that some schools, each school distributes it according to their own goals.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Their own (inaudible).

NANCY BRADY: So, yeah –-

REP. MARONEY: Right.

NANCY BRADY: -- $5,000 award is raising the average from the $700 award.

REP. MARONEY: And now I understand that it's only for a first-time associate's degree or first-time bachelor's degree. Do we limit the number of years –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yeah.

REP. MARONEY: -- that they can have that? And I, for incenting –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: In this program, yes.

REP. MARONEY: Okay. Because we're incenting completion –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Exactly.

REP. MARONEY: -- so it must decrease after the fourth year or –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Three years for community colleges and five years for, six years for bachelor's degrees.

SENATOR BYE: Okay. Great. Thank you very much. Thank you very much for your testimony. I'm going to invite Senator Fasano up now, so, and we'll follow up with –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Oh, I thought you meant he was going to be with us.

SENATOR BYE: -- you guys as well, so thank you.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Senator Fasano, would you like to be with us?

NANCY BRADY: That means that they're finished?

SENATOR BYE: You're finished. You're done.

NANCY BRADY: Thank you.

REP. DILLON: Madam Chair?

SENATOR BYE: Thank you.

REP. DILLON: I just wanted to say that I was in another meeting, because, or Subcommittee, but I'm keenly interested in this issue, so I'll probably –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Sure.

REP. DILLON: -- ask you questions later –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yep.

REP. DILLON: -- maybe on the record –-

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Okay.

REP. DILLON: -- but maybe not.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: (Inaudible).

SENATOR BYE: And we're happy to bring this back. I think this is a really important decision, so thank you for that, Representative Dillon.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Okay.

SENATOR BYE: I think -– Senator Fasano followed by Dr. Austin.

SENATOR FASANO: Thank you, Madam Chair. Senator Bye, Representative Willis, Senator Boucher, Representative LeGeyt, Members of the Higher Educational Committee, I'm going to talk about Senate Bill 176, which is ESTABLISHING A HIGHER EDUCATIONAL PERFORMANCE INCENTIVE TASK FORCE.

I know task force is what they need in this building, but this is a specific task force. And basically what I'm looking at to do or suggesting is if we do performance incentive funding for our schools, it will allow our schools to continue with the specialty that they have and excel in those areas of expertise.

And if we look at things like total degrees attained, time spent in attaining the degree, minority and low-income student degree attainment, student retention rates, progression from development to college-level courses, degrees in STEM and other high priority fields, which is the governor's initiatives, and administrative efficiencies, and we look at those goals, and there are probably others, but just as an example, then you have incentive funding based upon reaching those various goals.

If you look at where we have done this or people have done this, Ohio, for instance, has done this. They saw their graduation time go from 4.7 to 4.3. State of Pennsylvania has increased their graduation rates, their retention rates, their faculty production rates.

In Massachusetts, who recently did this competitive grant and adopted reforms, have already seen in very short order graduation rates, a close on achievement gaps and things of that nature. I think if we, with your guidance, they set this up, I think it's a new way to look at our education.

It funds it in the right area, and it also, incentives, if you would, the carrot as opposed to the stick, certainly would help faculty and students across the board. So I bring this to your attention. I think it's something that this Committee has shown an interest in. I appreciate the fact that you raised the bill, and I'm certainly happy to answer any questions you may have.

SENATOR BYE: Thank you, Senator Fasano. Senator Boucher, did you have a question?

SENATOR BOUCHER: Thank you, Madam Chairman, and thank you, Senator Fasano, for bringing this up to our attention. You may not be aware, or you may, that we just, prior to this meeting, had an excellent presentation on the part of the Association of New England Higher Education staff and experts in this field and had a thorough review of that concept. And it was a very interesting presentation.

It did raise some issues. One of the, one questions was that in times of financial duress, how can something like this be implemented? Would it be existing funding than just be reappropriated differently? And there were a few other questions as well about maybe the loss of funding as a result of this.

SENATOR FASANO: You know, we talk about our future in Connecticut, and we talk about the business future, the high-tech jobs, and student retention to stay in here. We have to, as a Legislature, agree to commit finances not to, forgive me for saying, the deep holes that we don't see exits but to a defined program.

And I think earmarking money from this Legislature for this defined program for incentives, which are well thought out and proven incentives, I think is an investment for the future, and I think we need that in our higher ed structure.

SENATOR BOUCHER: So I think what I'm hearing you say is that it wouldn't be a loss of ground of funding, but it would be an added incentive, in essence, a reward for good work done or progress being made.

SENATOR FASANO: I agree. If we're just taking other dollars, and moving them around, I think people don't get the idea that we're committed. It's a we're just changing focuses. But I think if we, as a Legislature, these are new dollars restricted to these, and if they don't reach the goal yet we take them away at the end of the fiscal year, but if the goals are reached, then they get them.

SENATOR BYE: Thank you. And, Senator Fasano, we'd love to have you on this Committee, because we're looking into these things. And I would say that your bill had something to do with us asking for more information.

SENATOR FASANO: Great.

SENATOR BYE: And we're getting it from a lot of sources. So I think we agree. I think what we heard this morning is it's a very cautious walk, and I think we'll give it a lot of deep thought on this Committee, and we'll look forward to your continued input. So thank you for your leadership on this issue.

SENATOR FASANO: I thank you very much for raising the bill again. Have a great day.

SENATOR BYE: Thank you. President Austin, I'm sorry to see you hobble, but I know that your leg has been bothering you.

PHILIP AUSTIN: You ought to see the other guy.

SENATOR BYE: You've still got it.

A VOICE: Well, he's got the money.

SENATOR BYE: Thank you for joining us.

PHILIP AUSTIN: Thank you very much. Good afternoon, Senators Bye and Boucher, Representatives Willis and LeGeyt. My name is Phil Austin, and I am, as you know, the interim president of the Board of Regents for Higher Education.

The Board of Regents governs Connecticut's four state universities, 12 community colleges, and Charter Oak State College, the state's only public, fully-online institution. I am here to offer testimony on components of the governor's proposed bill regarding higher education as well as two other bills on your agenda, and I am, of course, happy to take any questions you might have.

As you know, the search for the next president of the Board of Regents is currently underway. The Regents' Search Committee, chaired by Lewis Robinson, who is chairman of our Board of Regents, is working to produce a position profile, solicit applications, review candidates, and ultimately recommend a final candidate to the governor for final appointment.

Throughout the process, the search committee has been assisted by an advisory committee composed of faculty, staff, students from across our 17 campuses, as well as representation from the private sector. The Regents are working toward recommending a candidate to the governor during the month of April, and the successful candidate will begin his or her tenure sometime during the summer or as soon as possible, if you will understand.

Understanding the impact that a large-scale reorganization can have on an organization, the search committee is seeking to identify a dynamic, proactive, energetic individual who will be able to provide steady leadership and move the state colleges and universities forward over a substantial period of time.

The Regents are supportive of a change in the statutory term of the president. Currently, the, statutorily, the president's term is coterminous with that of the governor. And the president of the Regents, in my opinion, should work closely with the governor and his or her commissioners, particularly on issues of workforce development, the alignment of our programmatic offerings to private sector needs, P through 12 matters, and other critical issues that necessitate higher education and government partnerships.

That said, the leader of the colleges and universities, much like the leader of the University of Connecticut, should have his or her term set by the recommending authority, in this case, the Board of Regents. That is to say, the person by definition is in the middle of the political process but should not be a partisan political appointment.

Therefore, I strongly urge you to consider that rather straightforward, I believe, statutory change, which will, not to belabor this point, but which will have a dramatic and direct impact on the quality of the pool of applicants.

In light of the current search for a new president for Higher Education, the statutory change will also better enable the Regents' Search Committee to attract and retain a better leader.

Secondly, and the, one of the key components of the leaders on our campuses, is the Governor's Scholarship Program, about which you have just heard a good deal. The staff at the Board of Regents' system office has been involved in productive and ongoing conversations with the governor's office regarding this proposal. We have expressed several concerns about the proposal as it is currently drafted and how it will impact large numbers of students, particularly at our community colleges.

Almost 11,000 community college students received awards from the Connecticut Aid to Public College Students, CAPCS, during the 2011-12 academic year, equating to just over 11.4 million in funding. The legislation, as currently drafted, would reduce this number almost three times to less than 1500 community college recipients who would receive about 3.7 million, collectively.

We understand and support the goal of the proposal, which is to attract and retain high-quality students into undergraduate programs at Connecticut's public and independent institutions, but believe it must also be balanced with the equally critical goal of increasing attainment among nontraditional students and students between the ages of 25 and 44 who predominantly enroll on a part-time basis.

As currently drafted, the Governor's Scholarship Program would restrict eligibility to first-time, full-time students. To support state efforts to ease credit transferability and to support completion among returning students and those students between the ages of 25 and 44, we believe that eligibility should be extended to part-time and transfer students.

In addition, the proposal limits eligibility to students who are working toward their first associate or bachelor's degrees, which indirectly works against an agenda that promotes a way to seamlessly transfer between our 17 institutions, not to mention the University of Connecticut.

To address this, we believe eligibility should be capped at the equivalent of eight full-time undergraduate semesters of 120 attempted credits. Students attending part time who receive the Governor's Scholarship should have their attendance prorated to provide the same access to the state's financial aid dollars.

Another key concern we have is the cost of textbooks, which is currently excluded in the eligibility award amount under the proposal. By adding the cost of textbooks, the aid program will better support completion goals rather than simply access goals.

Provisions involving campus employment, which supports student engagement and promotes a sense of accomplishment from earning money to pursue personal or education goals, have been struck from this proposal. Community colleges use 25 to 50 percent of current CAPCS funds to support campus employment, and we believe this should be allowed to continue.

And, lastly, under the recently awarded GEAR-UP grant, which will help to significantly increase the number of low-income students prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education and provide scholarships for eligible high school seniors, students would receive priority access to existing state financial aid dollars. We believe this priority access, for some of the state's neediest students, must continue under this new proposal.

We remain willing and eager, of course, to work with the governor's staff and the Legislature to fine tune the proposal to ensure it does inadvertently negatively impact some of our state's neediest and most promising students.

I would also like to note that we are continuing to have conversations with the Office of Policy and Management about the proposal to include fringe benefit costs in the total block grant amount.

We understand the need to be responsible for our spending and furthermore do not oppose the idea of including fringe benefit costs in the total block grant for the colleges and universities. But we have some concerns about the way this proposal is structured, and we are currently discussing this with the administration.

Before I answer any questions you may have, I did want to mention two other bills quite quickly that are on your agenda today. The first is Senate Bill 868, AN ACT TARGETING STATE FINANCIAL AID TO SUPPORT TECHNICAL TRAINING.

The Board of Regents system office staff has been working with outside groups on this concept and believes that offering the opportunity for students to receive financial aid for specific, targeted, technical training resulting in industry-recognized certificates or credentials in the high-demand fields of healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, and energy is a step in the right direction.

However, given the current proposed restructuring of the Governor's Scholarship, we could only support the proposal if it were in the form of an additional appropriation provided for community college students on top of the funding allocated for the Governor's Scholarship.

And, lastly, I would like to provide comment on Senate Bill 476, AN ACT REQUIRING INPUT FROM LOCAL MANUFACTURERS IN DEVELOPING MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS AT THE REGIONAL COMMUNITY-TECHNICAL COLLEGES, and suggest that the intent of the bill, so that is to say ensure industry participation and involvement in the curriculum and programmatic offerings at the manufacturing centers, is already happening.

As you know, the 2011 jobs bill provided funding for the creation of three new manufacturing centers modeled after the successful Asnuntuck model at Housatonic, Naugatuck Valley, and Quinebaug Valley Community Colleges.

Soon after the jobs bill passed, the Board of Regents created a Statewide Advanced Manufacturing Advisory Committee chaired by industry partners and composed of Board of Regents leadership, local industry leaders, the workforce investment boards, and representatives from the four manufacturing centers.

This committee must also review any and all curricular changes, refinements, or enhancements prior to review and approval by the Board of Regents. In addition, each of the new manufacturing centers also created a Regional Manufacturing Advisory Council to support their work and help provide funding and facilitate the hiring of new graduates of the program.

The Board of Regents recognizes and values local industry involvement and believes strongly that these centers would not have moved forward under such an aggressive timeline without intense industry involvement.

I thank you again for your time on these matters, and I and my colleagues will be happy to attempt to answer any questions.

SENATOR BYE: Thank you, President Austin. I just want to make sure, I should have said when you started, this is your first time before us in your interim role, and I just want to be sure to thank you. You don't have to do this job. I know you did it as an act of public service, because you felt that you could be helpful, and you have been incredibly helpful.

So I want to be sure to just, on behalf of this Committee, thank you so much for your efforts. You could be enjoying more, much more retirement time. And also thank you for your efforts in recruiting and supporting the hiring of a high-quality president to have a strategic vision and be a great advocate for the system. So I just want to be sure to thank you.

PHILIP AUSTIN: Well, thank you so much, Senator.

SENATOR BYE: Yes.

PHILIP AUSTIN: I spent 16 wonderful years at UCONN, 11 plus two as acting president, permanent and then acting. And my heart still remains at that university. I love it, and I'm delighted for it, but my responsibility and my work and my dedication are to the institutions for which I'm responsible.

I have always had great respect for these institutions under the Board's oversight. They, under the new consolidation, as you know, hit a bump or two in the road and hit a couple of bumps before the consolidation.

And everyone with whom I've spoken in this body or, and other elected leaders, this body being this Committee, but other elected leaders is absolutely committed to high-quality education to fulfill this state's appropriate aspirations for quality of life and economic expansion. And I have come, over the five or six months that I've been at the Board of Regents, to respect these institutions even more.

We have work to do, but so does, do all institutions, including my UCONN. But I appreciate your comments, and I old school when one's governor calls that one can do it, you do it, and I, but I'm also hoping to be out of here in six or eight weeks. Thank you.

SENATOR BYE: Thank you for those comments, and I'm going to turn it over to my Co-Chair.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you. Always good to see you, President Austin.

PHILIP AUSTIN: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: What happens when you retire? Do we call you, do you take the title with you?

A VOICE: Pope.

REP. WILLIS: Pope.

A VOICE: (Inaudible).

SENATOR BYE: Yeah, there's an opening in Rome.

REP. WILLIS: Yeah. You may get a call.

PHILIP AUSTIN: My state senator is right here, Madam. Representative, I don't need that fight.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. Actually, this is the perfect segue to my question. Obviously, you're anxious to get out of there and move on with your life and get a new president, find a new president for the Board of Regents. So there is an effort to move this along and change the statute to help you be able to recruit. So a proposal has been made to change, in section four of the bill, to change the way the president is selected.

And my question to you is, and this is where I'm saying a perfect segue, and I hate to put you on the spot, but you were selected as president of the University of Connecticut. How does this process that is being proposed here differ from the way you were selected as president?

PHILIP AUSTIN: Actually, very similar. I would think that there is no two universities that have exactly the same. In this case, the Board of Regents does the screening and gives one or two names to the governor, as I understand it, and the governor is the appointing authority.

In my case, the, at UCONN in 1996, the Board of Trustees, as they're called, did the screening and the appointment. But I can tell you that I was interviewed by the then governor. I spent a pleasant evening with the then-governor's chief of staff and other people with whom he wanted me to become acquainted and so he could better know me, really, not for me to know him better.

And I seriously doubt had the Board of Trustees thought that the governor would have a problem with me and the way I would comport myself would that appointment have gone forward. So here, the nomenclature is different, and the statutory responsibility is some different, somewhat different.

But we're pragmatic people, and there are people with different sets of authorities and responsibilities, and it would be at the peril of any president of this board or, now the way things are structured, this president or the president of UCONN to have an ongoing disagreement with the governor, no matter who would be the statutory appointment authority.

REP. WILLIS: Well, you know, I can appreciate the input of the governor in the selection process. And, in fact, you know, in the past, I believe, you know, UCONN has even come to the Legislature to bounce off, and the Board of Trustees, to bounce off, you know, candidates and ideas for the selection of candidates at the university.

The way it's being proposed is the president of the Board of Regents would really be serving still at the will of the governor. And I'm not sure that, not the Board of Trustees, whether the president of UCONN, whether anyone would be comfortable with stepping into a job where they could be dismissed at will.

And I guess that's what I'm getting at and getting at what's good for the goose is good for the gander. If there's a process at UCONN, then that's the process we should have at the Board of Regents. That's my feeling, and if it was great in selecting you, Phil, I think it's the right way to go. Thank you.

PHILIP AUSTIN: Thank you.

SENATOR BYE: Representative Lavielle followed by Senator Cassano followed by Senator Boucher.

REP. LAVIELLE: Thank you very much, Madam Chair. Thank you for coming to see us today and for your testimony. I have two questions, if I may. One of them will go right to that subject that you were just discussing, which is the selection of the new president of the Board of Regents.

You've made some very interesting remarks about the method of selection, but I'd like to go back to some of the comments that I've heard from various people who work at the CSUs and at the community colleges. These were certainly not comments on you. They were comments on perhaps the last couple of years.

Their concern is that, that they've expressed to me, is that they feel they haven't had a strong enough voice of advocacy somehow through the whole process of legislation and deciding what gets put in place, structure and so on, and funding.

And I just wondered if, I know that some of what you've discussed might address that, but do you have any thoughts on what could be done to make them feel more comfortable that they're being completely and adequately represented in the process?

PHILIP AUSTIN: That is one of the issues that I take very seriously, Representative, and I know that it was a problem, and I will not say that it is not still a problem of some degree. I hope it's been abated somewhat. I've been asked, as you might imagine, to develop a list of issues with whomever is chosen as the permanent president and communications within and among several external constituent groups.

Clearly, this Legislature and the governor are, if not the first, in the top five of the issues I intend to discuss with the permanent president. I, earlier, used a euphemism in saying that we all know from the newspapers and some of you who have statutory authority to know more about this than those of us who are private citizens, you know that it was more than what I described as a bump in the road or two.

There were issues. And as has been revealed here, several Members of this Committee, simply because I had the privilege of working with you for so long, are not simply overseers of my work. You've become good friends. And I know that there's not agreement on, by all Members of this Committee who are the good guys and who are the bad guys in the activities of the last couple of years up until four, five, six months ago.

So, but your observation is absolutely fundamental. I am attempting to address it by more frequent meetings with the leadership, particularly the 17 presidents. There is the reality of life that consultation is one thing, but if you decide an issue on one side, and 50 percent wanted this, and, you're still not going to please the 50 percent who didn't. And there's a little bit of that in here.

But there was also, and in my opinion, and it's all so objective, but there was, given the way I like to do business, there was inadequate consultation. And there was perhaps some reason for that given that there were games being played with people who might not have wanted this consolidation to go on.

Let's be candid. You asked an honest, serious question. And it's unfortunate the way the thing developed. And it, you know, if that were to have continued, no progress would be made.

But I can assure you that the Regents, who are an impressive group of individuals, and it has been my privilege to get to know them over the last few months, they're perceptive, they're experienced, and they've said this just has to be a litmus test going forward, that our new president has to be sensitive to what we're trying to do now in response to our statutory authority, statutory responsibility, which is to improve the efficiency with which students who start at the community college move to one of our four universities or to UCONN.

And we're human, so we gripe, and we bicker, and we have differences, but a little bit of that is okay, but when it gets to the point that it destroys our ability to meet the objectives, it's not acceptable. I think our Regents understand that.

And when they make a recommendation to the governor of one or two people, very clearly they will have understood that, both from my advice to them and from the Regents making it very clear. I hope I'm being responsive. I certainly accept your concern as being a legitimate one.

REP. LAVIELLE: Well, I'm glad to hear that you're sensitive to that and will be going forward in the selection process, because of all the conversations that I've had with folks at the institutions, the one thing they continue to say is that they want to be heard.

And from, and including in the process that we're going through now with decisions being made, for example, about bringing more of UCONN to Stanford and so on, those are, it's all concerns for them, and they want to make sure that their voice is very loud and clear. And then what is decided is what is decided. But I think that's a, that would be the paramount issue I've heard about. And thank you for your answer.

And my second question, if I may, Madam Chair, is in regards to your remarks and your testimony about the fringe benefits and the block grant, and you've added, you said that you understand the need to be responsible and don't have an objection to that as a requirement but that you do have some concerns.

And I wondered if one of them would be, it is one of mine, asking the institutions to integrate into their budgets costs that they have not been involved in determining and whether you think there's any way to get around that.

PHILIP AUSTIN: I think you're right on the mark. And, of course, unfunded mandates, if that's the same as having to support activities that we did not decide not to do, that's hardly new with respect to this state or 49 other states or the federal government. It's an increasing part of the reality of life.

And at some point, and I hope that we have reached it, but at some point what's going to have to happen here is we will make decisions based upon variables over which we have authority. There are going to be fewer students. Student class sizes will be larger. The various nonteaching but very important academic sport activities will be diminished or terminated.

It's, the whole notion, we're, this morning I heard on the way to work the latest iteration on the sequestration to date down in Washington. Well, are you going to pay for it, or are you going to reduce what you want to pay (inaudible)? And you can't have it both ways. And I think that's maybe what's happening here.

And as one trained in economics, I find it an incentive structure by putting resources under the authority of one individual or one board makes sense, because you have a better sense of doing meaningful tradeoffs in allocated resources. On the other hand, as you know, there's a hold harmless provision in this proposal to the extent, that I understand it, for the first couple of years.

But then it's, all things are open to discussion. And, of course, if, what happens then is another just pull a figure out of the air. An enterprise that spends $1,000 a year all of the sudden has to come up with five more dollars or a hundred more dollars to keep doing the expectations that were imposed on it in terms of the students educated, quality assurances and so on.

It can't happen. And so on the one hand, I think conceptually the administration's proposal has much merit. But that evaporates if there are not going to be the dollars that follow to allow people to operate efficiently and with some predictability.

REP. LAVIELLE: Thank you. I think it would be, I share the concern. I, as someone who ran companies for a number of years, I would have found it very difficult to do that if I had not been involved in deciding how much they would earn and what their benefits would consist of.

So I hope your talks will continue and that there's maybe some flexibility on that score. Thank you very much for your answers, and thank you, Madam Chair.

SENATOR BYE: Thank you for those great questions and your great answers. And just to the public, I apologize this is going over, but this is a really important conversation for us to be having, so really going to respect Members' questions here, because it is very important. So Senator Cassano.

SENATOR CASSANO: Yes, thank you, Madam Chairman. I too want to thank you, Doctor, for continuing to serve, particularly in a real tough time. With everything that was going on, we needed stability, and you brought that stability.

I have two questions, one quick one, and I think I know the answer. Item seven on our agenda is the construction of the dormitory at Central. And I assume that the Board of Regents is supporting that proposal.

PHILIP AUSTIN: I think it's in there, isn't it? I think it's there.

BILL BOWES: Excuse me, Senator Cassano.

SENATOR CASSANO: Yes.

BILL BOWES: Let me introduce myself. I'm Bill Bowes. I'm chief financial officer for the Board of Regents. And your question is regarding the new residence hall at Central.

SENATOR CASSANO: Right. We have vote on it still.

BILL BOWES: Yes. We approved that, the Board approved that as part of the package that was going to go forward for Chief. As I understand it, what happened here is that we had to go back and do a rebid on that, and that is in process. So when that process is close to done, we will go back to the Board and go through the funding process with Chief again, yes.

SENATOR CASSANO: Yeah, but the Board, the Board is clearly on board, so –-

PHILIP AUSTIN: I didn't know just where it stood, Senator, but the block that we hit was a technical issue, not a substantive issue.

SENATOR CASSANO: Okay. Yes, that's right.

PHILIP AUSTIN: And the Board has approved it once, and we'll approve it once we have resolved.

SENATOR CASSANO: Okay. Great.

PHILIP AUSTIN: But we didn't know just where it stood.

SENATOR CASSANO: The second one is a more difficult question. You're in the process of obviously trying to hire somebody new to chair the Board. Anybody looking at the potential of a job looks at the pluses and minuses of any job. About two hours ago, the Faculty Center Advisory Committee was here, and they indicated that the Board has approved a strategic plan, but all of the colleges have rejected the plan, all of the faculty senates.

In the meantime, we're trying to bring somebody in, and if I'm a candidate, and I see that there's that much opposition to our strategic plan, it raises the question, are we trying to review that strategic plan and maybe find a more workable plan so that we can begin that process of coming together? I think the best description I've heard is we've heard the expression of herding cats.

But we took community colleges, and we took four-year institutions, two totally different groups, and now we are herding cats and mice, as someone says. And it's a, and if we can't agree, if we can't even agree on a strategic plan, what do we tell somebody that's willing, really wants to do this about the stability of the job or the potential of success in this job?

And so I guess the first step is even looking at the strategic plan to maybe find some common ground in working with the colleges or with the faculty and so on so that we have something better to offer.

PHILIP AUSTIN: Sure. And just as I mentioned to an earlier question, Senator Cassano, that her question was fundamental and basic, so also was this one. And, you know, it gets down to some of the, as I understand it, this particular issue started last June or July or something like that. And I arrived here in September or thereabouts.

And so much of the preliminary warfare had already begun. And it got right down to nomenclature, the definition of the terms of commission versus council or committee versus council, and when does one reach the standard to comply with the statute or legislative intent?

Another was do we want a strategic plan, or do we want three strategic plans? And I think it's fair to say that the Board of Regents saw that their mission was to make one out of many, otherwise, why the consolidation and to have coordination among institutions, of which many were quite different.

But I can tell you within the UCONN infrastructure, there's a whole lot of heterogeneity there as well. It's one university, but they do a lot of different things. And some would say then, well, you don't understand the community college movement or community college philosophy.

And unfortunately, I worked at the City University of New York a long time ago, and there were about four or 500,000 students, and there are a bunch of community colleges, and there are a bunch of very good senior colleges. And they have fights every day, and this is 40 years later but no more fights than inside NYU or Columbia.

That's the nature of higher education, which is not to make light of this and say there are no issues. There are issues, but I think, for example, that Dr. Lerer, who is the chairman of the Regents' board on strategic planning, was right in saying that we should have one strategic plan for this board, but we ought to recognize the rich tradition and history of the state universities, the community colleges, and distance learning, which is probably going to become even more important over the next ten or 20 years.

So you can have three areas of emphasis or more, but they want a strategic plan, which that board is responsible for implementing. Whether they're approving buildings or approving more operating costs and more faculty or new programs, they are generally in some way to be consistent with their overall strategic planning guides.

Now, Senator, if you would, please, there may be some details. I'm joined here today by Braden Hosch, who is the head of the academic function at the Board. He has been very deeply involved since the genesis of this. And if you'd like to add anything, Braden, feel free.

BRADEN HOSCH: I think that was very, I'm Braden Hosch. I'm the director of policy and research and also interim director of academic affairs. I think Dr. Austin's response was very thorough. The Board approved a plan to preserve the three missions as required by statute.

And in June of 2012, that plan required for there to be input from the faculty advisory committee, the presidents, and the student advisory committee into those three. And I think that what happened at that point was that we didn't receive all the input we were supposed to have received.

And then as the fall progressed with the bumps in the road, the communication did not improve with those groups in order to get done what needed to get done, which was to have that input.

And so we find ourselves at this point still trying to have the faculty advisory committee and the student advisory committee weigh in on what those missions would be, because the plan is still to have them have three separate missions that would fall underneath the fairly broad and, I think, valuable umbrella statement that says the Connecticut state colleges and universities will provide affordable, innovative, and rigorous programs and settings that permit an ever-increasing number of students to achieve their personal and career goals as well as contribute to the economic growth of the state of Connecticut.

I mean, that's the overarching mission under which the three constituent units would also have missions. And so we still have to get, I think, those groups together. I'm optimistic that that will happen in the next month or so. I've been having conversations with the faculty advisory committee. Their minutes from January, I think, are the first time it's actually referenced that they are in process with that.

And I've also had conversations with the student advisory committee. So I'm hopeful that we'll get that piece moving forward so that those other segments will go in place. As we've been developing draft metrics, we have always been recognizing that they have to be separate for each segment so that you would not be comparing community colleges against state universities. It doesn't make sense from a research or management point of view.

SENATOR BYE: Thank you.

SENATOR CASSANO: Very helpful. Thank you.

SENATOR BYE: Yeah, thank you for that, Braden, and I also want to take this opportunity to thank you for the time you've been spending going to the campuses in collaboration with the unions and the college presidents to make sure people, faculty, staff have a voice in some of this transition. And I know you've been working double time to make sure that the campuses are heard.

But as you've said, there's still more work to do. And Senator Cassano rightly points out we're trying to, you know, it's a whole transition that the more than bump in the road has challenged. So I know there's a lot of work going on with a lot of collaborators to try to keep the train on the tracks, if you will. Senator Boucher has been waiting.

SENATOR BOUCHER: Thank you, Madam Chair. And certainly, welcome, President Austin. It seems like old times again to see you there in that seat after the many years that we've both been here. And certainly we thank you for stepping in. You know, when they say that when times get tough the tough get going, and your being here speaks to the enormous respect and regard that everyone has for your leadership.

And I think leadership, to me, is one of the most significant issues that we're discussing here, because what this system needs right now is strong, stable leadership that will take all these disparate parts and move them all in the right direction. And in considering this, there've been some concerns that have been brought to me by others in the legislature in leadership positions.

And one of them is that this is a proposal to change things in mid-stream and that it might make a lot of sense. It may be a very reasonable proposal that if everyone could get on board would have the unanimous support. But it raises the issue that was just recently mentioned about this would work well to have an individual, not coterminous with the governor's term to, so that you have an easier time in recruitment.

And it makes sense if, in fact, a board of regents was choosing that individual and making the final decision. So that raises the question of just how that was originally structured. Originally structured, the governor chooses the president. The governor basically chooses the board of regents, nine out of, nine positions, and four, only four would be other independently chosen.

So in essence, you have most of the decision making made in one office that is a four-year term so that it made sense to have that president be coterminous given that structure that was inactive and proposed by the leadership.

To change it now doesn't seem to be consistent with that model and raises the question of maybe that model should be changed so that it is consistent so that individual could be at the behest of the Board of Regents, which wouldn't have a similar term necessarily.

So, you know, I, and I know one of the rationales has been, well, it could only be a two-year engagement if, in fact, unless, of course, there was consistency in the voting outcome, and the same individual occupied the governor's office for the following four years.

But if it were to change, then a two-year term by that individual may make sense, because the next individual occupying the governor's office may, if they keep this current structure in place, may want to have a way in on the next individual. So it, you see where I'm going with this?

It raises an awful lot of questions that would it, in fact, hamper or tie the hands of the recruitment committee if they could only propose a two-year commitment with the extension of that, should the same administration continue, you see where I'm getting at?

This different structure has produced these problems, essentially, the problems that may not be here if, in fact, the Board of Regents were more independently chosen and that that Board of Regents chose their president much like you were chosen, the final decision making on the Board of Regents with consent and approval or at least some guidance by the administration's office.

You know, they say, you know, be careful what you wish for, because if you control all of the pieces of this, you get to take the bow if it goes well. But if it goes very, very bad, you also end up having to own the problem as well. And right now, the way it's set up, it all resides in one office.

So, again, it raises some of these issues, and I bring these out to you because others in leadership have brought these concerns forward as well, and it will be a part of a lot of discussion in future meetings that we'll have with regards to the entire structure at the Board of Regents.

But this concern right now of moving so expeditiously forward has raised some questions, and I wanted to bring those out to you. And if you have any, you know, response or feedback on that, that's fine, but I did want to pose that to you. Thank you, Madam Chair.

PHILIP AUSTIN: Thank you, Senator. Thank you for your kind comments. I feel the same way, by the way. It's been a delight to work with you. Let me make it clear. I am here unequivocally and aggressively supporting the change in the coterminous nature of the two positions, which, of course, has nothing to do with the incumbent governor.

I would be saying this no matter who occupied that chair. And, secondly, with respect to all others, I think that set of questions may be quite a bit above my pay grade. I wasn't elected to anything. You people do the voting.

And it's, I've seen all different models work in different places around the country, but right now the only thing that I would strongly urge you to do is, as quickly as your process allows, if you're disposed to do so, it would be very helpful to us to get the strongest possible candidate if we could engage in a three-year contract or a four- or a five-year, probably no more than five-, and give that authority to the Board of Regents.

Now with, I think maybe you weren't in the room, Senator, when I responded to the House Co-Chair's question. And I'll simply say that when I arrived here in '96, the Board of Trustees was the appointing authority, and I spent a good deal of time with Governor Rowland and his people. And no matter who appointed me, no matter, I knew that on the day-to-day and the modification of policy within its purview I better keep that Board satisfied and informed and moving and acting as one so that I can do my job.

But it would be at our peril that particularly the governor or all other elected leaders of this state -- we need funding, and if you do something to alienate or go pretty wide of the mark on what you've said you're going to do and what our policy is, and that's meetings like this. But as you all know also on big issues meetings in your office in private, well, we can answer pretty bluntly your concerns.

And I didn't feel, I don't feel any more now that my job is, of course, I'm (inaudible) in five or six months, but if I were here, I think under the circumstances that I were a permanent president with a five-year contract, I would not feel anymore threatened by one elected official under this than under my prior.

It's not good if you're the head of a big complex public organization to offend the governor or to offend the leadership of the Legislature. And I think anybody you would want as president is going to get that. Now how you decide, you and the governor decide how the statute is going to work, that's up to you.

SENATOR BOUCHER: Thank you for that answer. And if you were put in the recruitment seat, and you were recruiting a president, how likely would you get a good leader with a two-year contract with a possible extension to three afterwards in that kind of arrangement? Would you be able to negotiate?

PHILIP AUSTIN: I think predictability is a big thing and all things in life. And if you can, if you find someone you want to bring here to lead this place, well, and you can say you've got a three-year contract or the four-year contract as opposed to you maybe will have a one-and-a-half year contract, or maybe that'll convert to five-and-a-half year contracts, clearly, the certainty and the predictability is important.

And number two, you know, I have great respect for Governor Malloy, and I had great respect for Governor Rowland when I worked under that leadership. But, you know, if a governor does not want you to be happy or successful in your job, it's pretty easy to send that message.

And I think the type of person you would want as your president is going to understand that and will receive those messages. And you don't need a sledge hammer. I think sometimes just a press release will get the message out.

SENATOR BOUCHER: Thank you for that response. I think that one of the big question marks, and I have no doubt that whosever sitting in that seat, including our current governor, would only want the very best leadership that is out there and would have only that motivation in mind. There's no question about that.

But it still raises the question of is one governor choosing a president for another should that occur in the maybe likely or an unlikely event? So I thank you so much for those, as always, very honest and forthright questions. Again, thank you so much for being there for Connecticut when they need you.

PHILIP AUSTIN: Thank you, Senator.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you. Any other questions or comments from Members of my Committee? Hearing none, thank you so much, all of you. Phil, always a pleasure to see you.

PHILIP AUSTIN: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Some of you got off easy. Now I'm going to switch to the general public. Walter Harrison, Martha Shouldis, Julia McNamara, is that what that says, and Judy Greiman.

WALTER HARRISON: Are you ready for us?

REP. WILLIS: Hi. Good afternoon. Judy, how did you want, I keep, three minutes here and then the rest of you, or is everyone giving testimony, three-minute? Okay.

A VOICE: Yeah.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

WALTER HARRISON: Okay. Representative Willis, I'm going to start, and we'll proceed sequentially. Good afternoon. I'm Walter Harrison, president of the University of Hartford, and I am here to testify against two provisions of S.B. 844, AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE BUDGET RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE GOVERNOR CONCERNING HIGHER EDUCATION.

I urge you not to implement these two programs, the creation of the Governor's Scholarship Program and the imposition of fees for independent colleges and universities for program approval. I spent four very happy years as an undergraduate student at Trinity College in the 1960s and graduated in 1968. Thirty years later, I returned to Connecticut to assume the presidency of the University of Hartford, and I am now in my 15th year in that position of leadership.

As both a student and as a president, I have always felt that independent colleges and universities in Connecticut are both excellent and strong. I would make the case that Connecticut and Massachusetts have the two strongest independent higher education sectors in the country. This is something that our entire state and you as Legislators should be extremely proud of.

Under the leadership of our current and the last two governors, Connecticut has belatedly invested in strengthening the public universities in the state, the University of Connecticut and the universities and colleges that are now grouped under the Board of Regents' system.

I applaud you for doing that, because by providing our citizens with both a strong public system of colleges and universities and an equally strong variety of independent colleges and universities, we are preparing our citizens to be able to succeed in the increasingly knowledge-intensive world of the current workplace.

As Governor Malloy has so articulately stated, this body of strongly prepared graduates will do more to make us economically competitive than any other single measure I can think of. In advocating for his ten-year plan for strengthening the University of Connecticut, Governor Malloy cited the state of Michigan's commitment to public research universities as a competitive advantage.

I was vice president for university relations at the University of Michigan for nine years and advocated for the university before the Legislature. And let me say this directly. Had I heard a governor of Michigan say what Governor Malloy has said, I would have thought I had died and gone to heaven.

But having lived in Michigan and been a close observer of the higher education world both here and there, I can say this, Connecticut's private colleges and universities are hands down better than anything Michigan has to offer.

Michigan has no Yale, no Wesleyan, no Trinity, no Connecticut College, no Quinnipiac, no University of New Haven, no Sacred Heart University, no Fairfield University, and no University of Hartford, just to name some of them. And my two colleagues will represent their own institutions in a minute. I am naming just some of them. Michigan has a good smaller, a collection of good smaller liberal arts colleges but nothing like the array of private institutions we have here.

In the end, by strengthening the University of Connecticut and the Board of Regents institutions and leaving independent colleges and universities free to improve themselves, you will be doing the best you possibly can to make our state competitive in a growingly knowledge-driven world.

Unfortunately, two pieces of Governor Malloy's budget package that are in front of you today will begin brick by brick to dismantle the strong array of independent colleges and universities that we've developed. My question to you today is this. Why is it good public policy to strengthen, I'm sorry, to weaken one of our strongest educational sectors for no apparent gain and no savings to the state budget?

Here is my sense of the overriding problems with these two proposals, very quickly. The Governor's Scholarships -– this legislation should be extremely proud of the current CICS and CAPCS programs. At very little cost to the state and administration of this program, you have provided scholarship support to deserving low- to middle-income students at both public and private universities.

This proposal takes funds away from scholarships in order to administer a system that is designed basically to shift support to students at public institutions and away from independent institutions. Why would you do this? You don't believe in providing scholarship support to Connecticut residents at independent institutions?

Put that on the table, and let's discuss this in the light of day. This seems like a calculated way to do that without being honest about it. I'm not here to brag about the University of Hartford, although I'm very proud of what we've accomplished over the past 15 years in attempting to be what we call a private university with a public purpose. All of my sister institutions could make similar statements.

So that you are clear about what we have done with the CICS scholarships at Hartford, 40 percent of our undergraduate students come from Connecticut, and 28 percent of our undergraduate students are students of color. We have made this accomplishment without special financial aid for students of color and without using affirmative action in our admission decisions.

It's one of my fondest accomplishments. CICS scholarships have helped us make this excellent undergraduate experience available to low- to middle-income level Connecticut residents without much cost to taxpayers. Why would we want to dismantle this?

Making changes to the program, now second, making changes to the program approval process for independent colleges and universities. Five years ago, I appeared before you and argued that this entire approval process makes no sense.

Thirty-six states in the union save taxpayer funds by not requiring this sort of Byzantine process for state approval. Unfortunately, I was not able to persuade you of this. I know there are ongoing conversations about making changes to the process, and I hope they are fruitful.

This change, however, would require independent colleges and universities to pay a fee for the privilege of having new programs reviewed as well as an annual fee for opening our doors each day. Whatever happened to making Connecticut the innovative, innovation state? This is actually a tax on innovation. I cannot understand why you would want to create what is essentially a tax on innovation.

So what am I advocating? I never knew before now that I had an inner Nancy Reagan to channel, but here's what I suggest to you. Just say no to both these proposals. They add nothing to the state and together send a strong negative message to those of us in the private sector. What possible benefit can be gained by that now?

I know that now is not an easy time to serve in the state Legislature. I very much appreciate your service and what you are doing for all of us. The state faces very serious budget challenges, but neither of these two proposed changes makes any real difference in that challenge, and both harm one of the state's strongest sectors, our independent colleges and universities.

I want to be honest. Neither of these proposals will bring about irreparable damages, but they will begin to dismantle one of the best parts of being a citizen in Connecticut brick by brick. Is that really what you want to be remembered for? Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you, President Harrison. Just a brief comment. Well, why don't you continue –-

A VOICE: Yeah.

REP. WILLIS: -- and then we'll ask questions.

MARTHA SHOULDIS: I'm Martha Shouldis, and I'm the president and CEO of St. Vincent's College in Bridgeport. Thank you for the opportunity to speak today in opposition to Senate Bill 844. I can't tell you my story without telling you about our student body. St. Vincent's College is focused on the preparation of nurses and allied health professionals, programs of study important to the economy of the state.

In fall 2012, our enrollment was 824 students. That was twice as big as we were four years ago, and we're still growing. The average age of a St. Vincent's College student is 31. In the fall, 85 percent of the students enrolled as part-time students -- that's an important factor, part-time students -- as they are working adults supporting families and attending college.

More than 95 percent of our students receive one or more forms of financial aid, and typically it's a package of financial aid. Ninety-nine, and it's really more than 99 percent of our students are Connecticut residents. We have seven students from out of state. Ninety-four students reside, 94 percent of the students reside in Fairfield and New Haven Counties.

Fifty percent reside in the Greater Bridgeport area, one of the Connecticut cities with the lowest average family income and one with the lowest college completion rate. More than 90 percent of St. Vincent's graduates begin their healthcare careers in Connecticut. St. Vincent's is the least expensive of the private colleges in Connecticut with an annual tuition of $9300 per semester.

I will speak first about the impact of the proposed merger of the financial aid program. This proposal includes provisions to eliminate state grants to part-time students. Remember, I said that 85 percent of my students are part time, part time because that's what they can manage as they are typically supporting families and earning a portion of their tuition dollars.

This fact is supported by the exceptionally high percentage of them who receive financial aid, more than 95 percent. The provision of that grant would only go to full-time students, would add even more financial burden to the poorest of our students who benefit from the state grant program.

Thus far an academic year, in the current academic year, St. Vincent's has awarded almost $3 million of financial aid. This is short of the loans the students have taken. Of this number, 308,500 is state grants. I thank you for that state support for the poorest of our students. However, I will point out that this is $90,000 less than was awarded five years ago when we were half the size that we are now.

I think this is important to notice this proposal further includes provisions to merge the financial aid programs and provides for OAG to take portions of the dwindling state grant funds to administer their merged programs, monies that could be allocated to students if the grants would continue to flow to the colleges as has been the practice.

The problem with the aid programs is that they have been underfunded over the past two years, not that they are fundamentally flawed. So it is not clear what it being fixed by merging the programs.

While I understand the tough position you as Legislators are in cutting the budget this year, I do not believe you intend for even less monies to be provided to college students who will make up our future workforce. Simple math would show that a proportion of funding will likely skew towards the public colleges, as they have more students.

Keep in mind, however, that all public college students are already subsidized by all of us who are taxpayers in this state. This will subsidize them even further. In fields like nursing, almost one-half of the nursing graduates in state are educated in the private colleges of this state. In the case of St. Vincent students, they are not only educated here but have a record of gaining employment in Connecticut.

They are an important part of the state healthcare labor pool now and in the future when another even more significant shortage of healthcare professionals is projected as boomers like myself retire in record numbers. As for the program approval process of this bill, you have already heard that Connecticut is one of the few states that regulate academic program approval in the nonprofit college sector.

I do not support adding additional costs through the imposition of fees. This would hit the bottom line of all private colleges and universities and draw away even more dollars designed to support our students.

Furthermore, it would also disproportionately impact small colleges like St. Vincent's, as we would pay the same rates as the other colleges that are many times larger than us and which charge far more than we do in tuition and fees.

We have absorbed all the additional costs that we can related to compliance with state and federal laws. So the addition of types of costs included in this bill plus the costs of other regional and federal mandates we have to meet forces us to choose between raising tuition against eliminating programs designed to support student success. There is much more that I could add, but I am cognizant of your time.

Again, I recognize the huge task you have before you with balancing the budget. We are doing the same task on our own campuses. I encourage you not to do so by jeopardizing state support for education of our future workforce.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you very much. You probably, you may not have been in the room when I stated this, but we're not voting on a bill that eliminates part-time students.

A VOICE: (Inaudible).

REP. WILLIS: Okay. Whatever happens, though, we're not doing that.

JULIA MCNAMARA: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the Committee. It is a pleasure to be here this afternoon, and it is a responsibility of mine at this time to oppose the merger of the financial aid programs and the imposition of fees on colleges, on independent colleges as detailed in S.B. 844.

My name is Julia McNamara. I'm president at Albertus Magnus College, a position in New Haven, Connecticut, a position which I've held for 30 years. I have, over these years, always admired and appreciated and understood the reason for the Connecticut Independent College Student Grant Program.

This program has been immensely important to all of the independent colleges in the state. And the program, as it has been set up, was even praised last year in the annual report that is presented by the Office of Financial and Academic Affairs for 2012 saying that this program does exactly what it is supposed to do, what it is slated to do, and what it is missioned to do.

For my part, I just want to speak for a couple of minutes about Albertus Magnus College's Independent College Student Grant Program and to say that I am in complete accord with my colleagues, Walter Harrison and Martha Shouldis, and their comments. I only wish that Walter Harris had named, Walter Harrison, excuse me, had named all of the independent colleges in the state rather than just a select few, but, Walter, I understand you were under a time constraint.

Albertus Magnus College's mission, ladies and gentlemen, is to the citizens and students of Connecticut. Ninety-four percent of our students come from Connecticut, many of them from the Greater New Haven community, many of them also from the community around East Hartford.

We have a very strong contingent of students who are engaged in academic programs that will suit the needs of Connecticut going forward. We really truly believe in having our students stay in Connecticut once they are educated here.

We really try to provide access for all Connecticut residents for those who choose to attend a small independent college that really looks at one student at a time and tries to graduate students within that four-year period with a tremendous amount of academic advisement and solid, solid teaching by a very committed faculty.

There is a sense about our college which we, in which we are, about which we are very proud, and that is that 37.5 percent of our students are students of color. That has been a very important feature of the growth of our institution over the past number of years, and our innovative evening and adult programs have also been a very strong commitment to our Connecticut citizens.

There is a sense in which the bill really does impose fees upon the independent colleges which do seem very, very, they cause me great confusion, because it is something that has not happened in the past, and I am really concerned that that kind of speaks to a kind of negative way of approaching independent colleges in the state.

My firm commitment is to educating students in this state, and that will, that remains with us a very, very important feature of who we are at Albertus Magnus College. I thank you for your attention, and I ask that my comments be coupled with those of my colleagues. Thank you.

JUDITH GREIMAN: Thank you. Good afternoon, Members of the Committee. So you have my written testimony, which is many pages and many charts. And it outlines our very specific concerns with S.B. 844 regarding the merger of the aid programs and the imposition of fees. I hope you will read it and consider each point specified.

I feel that I must take time right now, however, to ask you the question that I've been asked every day since this came out. Legislators, campus presidents, CFOs, financial aid directors have all asked why do this? And I'll put it in context, which, as a sector, we have the highest graduation rates in the state.

We award almost half the degrees year in and year out. We award the highest percentage of four-year and above degrees to minority students. We award the highest percentage of degrees in engineering, health sciences, biological sciences, information technology. We employ 22,000 people and thousands more who have jobs that service our sector.

We are anchor tenants in every one of our communities. We are not going to pack up and move out of this state. And our employees and almost 200,000 alums who live here pay hundreds and millions of dollars in state and local taxes. Frankly, we're a significant part of Connecticut's fabric.

And the only state money that we receive is for the CICS program, a program that aids and encourages us to bring needy Connecticut students to our schools because we have the academic programs or the high-touch environments that some students need. That money, which is now down from almost 24 million to about 15 million at a time of record breaking student need, is matched at least four-fold by the institutional aid that we give to Connecticut students.

Your cost, the Connecticut taxpayer cost per degree in our sector is just over $1,000. The Connecticut taxpayer cost for a degree in Connecticut's public sector is just under $40,000. Frankly, the biggest problem with Connecticut's aid programs, all of the aid programs, is that they keep getting cut.

And this budget cuts it by another six million, four million off the top, and it incorporates the two million from the rescission of this year. Why cut a radically restructured and effective program that helps needy kids go to college in a state that frankly needs all the college graduates it can get.

And I really must have, I also have to say that we've always viewed this program as being about student, as being student focused and about accessing completion. That is not new to us. I mean, I heard some testimony today that that's some new thing. That is not new to us. That's what we do every day, and that's what we use this program to help us do for Connecticut students.

Why put new obstacles in front of a sector that proves year after year it can educate and graduate students in relevant degree areas with minimal state support? In Massachusetts, Governor Patrick has recommended a $112 million expansion in funding for the financial aid programs and is supporting the elimination of program review for those private colleges that have program reviews still.

I hope that we can follow their lead by working together to encourage a sector that's economical for the state, raves huge rewards for its citizens, its communities, and its workforce and that you'll consider the full impact of our sector as you review our specific concerns.

And since I have one more, few seconds, I'll just say, of our specific concerns, I think that there hasn't been much talk here today on this notion of cost of attendance being included in any sort of award. And if you look at even the Pell Grant has both EFC and cost of attendance.

So if your cost of attendance is higher at an institution, your Pell Grant is higher at an institution. That's not included here. The administrative fees have never been, hasn't been part of this program. The notion of whether it's first-time full-time or whether transfer students or students who've stepped out for a bit, can get, continue to get access.

I heard some clarification of it today, but the language doesn't say that this notion of the 20 percent/80 percent, how much is used for the need merit and how much is used just for the need, very unclear. So I hope that you will look at our specific concerns, and I hope that you will think about what we are as a sector in this state.

It is not every state that has these kind of presidents and these kind of institutions. In fact, most of my colleagues across the country are quite jealous of what we have in Connecticut. Thank you very much for your time, and we're here to answer any questions you might have.

SENATOR BYE: Thank you. And, President Harrison, I apologize. I was up at a, quickly at a different meeting when you testified, but I will look at your testimony, and I thank you all for your service to our state and to the students in Connecticut.

A VOICE: Yeah.

SENATOR BYE: So I'm going to kick it off, and I hope you all forgive me. Some, I think what are some difficult questions, because I know Judy has said why do this, and having struggled with the issues of completion and having struggled through the battles on Appropriation Subcommittee about we're going to do this much for CICS, this much for CAPCS, this much for Capitol Scholars, and last year where a recommendation got totally turned around to the tunes of millions of dollars more to CICS than we anticipated.

And so we sit here like Representative Willis was saying, like taffy where both programs are competing against each other and pulling. So one of the things that's appealing to, at least to the, at least to me, I'll speak for me, is that this aid goes right to the students without consideration of the college. So I think you're totally dead on about some of the concerns with this program, with the part time. A lot of students go part time.

And many of the ones, Judy, that you outlined, I think they're things, they're ways that this bill is a nonstarter if it's not including part-time students, because that is a significant way that students put themselves through college, particularly those who are struggling. And I also, you know, this particular method also advantages the lowest income students, so that's something else that is appealing, students that might not have other ways.

So I'll stop there and ask a couple of questions. So, and maybe they're all totally different questions on your campus, but of the dollars, of the tuition dollars that come into your colleges, what percentage of those dollars are public dollars, state or federal financial aid? Of the money that pays tuition, what percentage of it is tax dollars?

I mean, I know I asked another college president, and it was, it was from the for-profit sector, so it was a very different sector. But 80 percent of their income was state dollars. Now I doubt yours is that high, but, or state and federal dollars, but I'll ask you if you have a sense of that.

WALTER HARRISON: I don't know, because I don't like to give answers that I don't have the exact data in front of me on. But we get very little money from taxpayers. We get CICS money. In our case, that's two point, we're one of the highest, by the way, I don't understand what it means by it goes to the students and not the colleges. That's empty rhetoric. The money goes to the students. The current program doesn't go to us, but --

SENATOR BYE: Got it, but it would be delivered directly to students. That's (inaudible).

WALTER HARRISON: It still goes directly to students. I don't understand what that means. There's no cut for us or, it goes, they get money in a scholarship, they use the money to pay their cost of attendance. But to your question, as far as I know, we get CICS $2.16 million, we get, what I don't know is what's the total amount of Pell Grants our students get, so that would be federal.

And I don't know about the small, the other small programs. And I suppose you'd have to have somebody with an advanced degree in finance to figure out what percentage of a guaranteed student loan is actually money. But it's a tiny percentage of most of the money.

Who pays for the cost of supporting students at public, at private universities? Basically, the students and their family, and to some extent, to the extent that we at the University of Hartford supply financial aid to students, it comes from the University.

But frankly, for a university like us with a very small endowment, it's basically we're moving money that some students pay us to other students who can afford it less. So the vast majority, I don't know what the percentage is, 80, 85 percent of the money that goes to financial aid does not come from taxpayers, and that's probably a low percentage.

SENATOR BYE: Well, you know what you could do, is maybe when you have a chance, you could just get us this information.

WALTER HARRISON: Sure.

SENATOR BYE: I don't know. Judy, you'll –-

JUDITH GREIMAN: I have information on all of the federal programs, and we obviously have the CICS allocation, so we can get that to you. There's a significant different between the for-profit sector and the not-for-profit sector on this issue. It's, in fact, one of the biggest differences.

So we, it is not the case that the bulk of students' tuition is paid for by any government. It's paid for by the family and institutionally. And the federal programs obviously are a support, and the CICS program is a component. It's been dwindling, so, across the entire sector. Now there's only 15 million, so it's relatively small. But we can get you –-

SENATOR BYE: Yeah.

JUDITH GREIMAN: -- what those, in fact, I can get you probably more data than you want on the federal programs.

SENATOR BYE: Yeah. That would be great. So the way the current program is structured, as I understand it, would give an advantage to many of your colleges, because it advantages full-time students. It advantages at completion year.

And so what would you say if I, if the way I see it, it's more of an advantage to colleges that have more full-time, a higher percentage of full-time students the way it's structured right now, and many of your institutions serve many, many low-income students.

I mean, my guess is when I worked at the University of Saint Joseph, we had more Hartford students than UCONN. And it's in the mission of the college, and I know it's in the mission of many of your colleges, so the combination of serving a lot of low-income students, having more full-time students, and having more completion, as I understand this formula, would advantage your institutions. Is that your impression, or that's not? President Harrison, you're saying, no, it's not your impression.

WALTER HARRISON: I think this is just shifting all the money into the public sector. And as I said in my remarks, (inaudible), I'd be happy to give you a private reading, is if someone wants to move the money from the private sector to the public sector, that's fine, I mean, but why don't they say that? The way I read this, it's going to move the money to the publics. I just don't, I don't, I'm not sure why you would think it would advantage this.

SENATOR BYE: Well, because we've asked for and are getting some preliminary runs, and I guess my concern is the opposite of yours, that it would be disadvantaging the public colleges who have more part-time students, and that's one of our, you'll hear our concerns about not allowing part-time students.

So I don't think it's, you know, it's totally done, but I think it disadvantages institutions that have more part-time students the way it's structured right now.

JUDITH GREIMAN: Can I add? I mean, we heard from St. Vincent's, with 85 percent of part-time students, it would significantly disadvantage those students.

SENATOR BYE: For that particular institution, perhaps.

JUDITH GREIMAN: Seriously disadvantage, but, you know, I think that, I think there's two things (inaudible). One is, as to your previous comment about this would send the money to the students, this is not making that change. So this is not making that change.

This is, the change that this is making is it's saying that the state is going to set an EFC level and an amount per EFC level, and the colleges are going to get a somewhat different allocation than they do today based on something different than today, but the college is still going to be determining who within those bands gets something.

They just can't, they have no flexibility within that. It is not that a student is applying to the state and getting something and going to a college. That's, it's not different –-

SENATOR BYE: I (inaudible).

JUDITH GREIMAN: -- how it's going out. The other thing is that I think that the, where you don't include cost of attendance, it significantly disadvantages our students. So if today you have, you're at the lowest EFC, and you have a CICS grant, and you have a bigger CICS grant than the average at that institution, tomorrow under this, you won't get that. You get $3,000, boom, so –-

SENATOR BYE: So do you not see some advantage to having an equitable distribution based on your EFC for the student? If you're a student at Central or a student at Southern or a student at St. Vincent's or a student at Albertus Magnus, do you now see any value to that?

JUDITH GREIMAN: He, I mean, I can give one. You know, here's one take on it. So I've talked to a lot of the financial aid directors over the last few days and presidents, and I think that you have to look at each student coming in, and they're coming in in different places.

A University of Hartford student who's got a very low EFC who's coming in as a Hartford scholar, which means they have half the tuition paid for just walking in the door, you graduate from Hartford public high school, half of your tuition paid for walking in the door, they have a low EFC. They already have this chunk taken care of.

Then they're getting a Pell Grant. Then they're getting a CICS. So you have to see what each student is walking in with. It's a package. It's not, they're not apples to apples. You have to look at what each person is walking in with and then layer on as much as you can with the (inaudible) to reduce any lending.

And so my fear in this is that it actually will increase lending, which is what none of us want, because the same kid who before could get a 5,000, because they were, that was the way their package worked, now will get that two or 3,000 and have to do more loans. They're not apples to apples, and tuition cost is different.

So when I've looked at, I think, those, and we didn't get to see Mark French's stuff, but I heard him say something about, you know, in the community colleges the Pell Grant is greater than the tuition. So why are we, there's a –-

SENATOR BYE: Then they wouldn't get any.

JUDITH GREIMAN: -- the Pell Grant is not greater than the tuition at St. Vincent's College, so that student would get the Pell and the CICS grant. They're, and a whatever it's called grant. They're different. They're coming in differently, and they're different tuitions.

SENATOR BYE: Okay. I'm going to see if other Committee Members, I'm sorry for dominating. Lavielle or, which, did one of you have a question?

REP. WILLIS: I did.

SENATOR BYE: Oh.

REP. WILLIS: Hi, Judy. I'm sorry I didn't hear all of your testimony. But I guess I just want to start from the frustration of my involvement with this for the last 12 years, CICS and CAPCS, and how frustrating it is to have to decide, you know, both coming in, you know, publics coming in, independents coming in and saying we need this, and there's different amounts, and different students get different amounts.

And then we heard, you know, same need. We heard, you know, the community college, we learned that recently, that you could get, same student could go from one community college to another and get a different CICS, you know, CAPCS award. So as a policymaker, you know, I'm looking at that, and I'm saying, this is just so confusing. Why, you know, they all do a great job.

You all do a great job, and you all fit a need. Why wouldn't we make it student based? Why wouldn't it be a better system for the aid to go to an individual student based on their need? And, I mean, that's where I'm looking at it, because I don't like having this debate every year about how much you get and how much CAPCS get.

I don't want to have that conversation anymore and making me decide between one or the other of you, when I think you're both great, is, you know, is a horrible dilemma to be in. So what do you have to, how do you answer that in terms, because you live this with me.

JUDITH GREIMAN: Yeah. I think I answered in this way. Until two years ago, CICS and CAPCS basically traveled together. And a lot of people have heard me say this. So for, I mean, I've been here for, Walter and I started the same month so 15 years. CICS and CAPCS basically traveled together. They went up together, and they went down together.

There was a period a few years ago where they both, I think, went up quite a bit, and that was the, you know, the glory years. Two years ago, CICS got a significant cut, CAPCS didn't. Last year, CICS got another cut, CAPCS got a cut. I don't think, and then in this, you know, rescission, I know CICS was, got a rescission. I don't know, I just don't remember right now if CAPCS did.

So I don't think that it's been, I think over the last couple years I respect that you all have to make those, I mean, unfortunately, you have to make those decisions on every part of the budget. But our view has actually traditionally been, I mean, for 15 years, I have said, I understand that public colleges need to spend their time advocating frankly for their block grant.

And we have, in fact, said you need to fund financial aid. Yes, I'm obviously going to say you need to fund CICS, but you need to fund financial aid. And it really was only when there was this huge difference between the two and how they were funded that we, I think that you were forced to make that, you know, you heard a lot of clashing. I think you just need to fund financial aid.

And, you know, I think that in terms of you saying, you said that this would go to a student in need. That's what it does today. All the programs, all three programs only go to students in need. The thing is that right now there's some flexibility in each, in CICS and CAPCS.

I don't think there's flexibility in Capitol Scholars. There's some flexibility in terms of how you meet that student's need based on, I don't remember if you were here, based on what they're walking in the door with.

If you're walking with the Hartford Scholars and your Pell, you're going to maybe need less of CICS grant. If you're not walking in with that, you're going to maybe need more of a CICS grant. If you're, you know, middle income, and you've got three kids in college, you might need more. I mean, so, but they're all going to, they're yesterday going to kids in need, tomorrow going to kids in need, Connecticut kids in need.

My, I mean, my other fear is that there are some, this grant we've always said sort of does two things. For some institutions, the more highly selective institutions, I think it really, who have frankly more applications than they know what to do with, it encourages them to take that Hartford public student and to support that student through their four years.

For other institutions that have significant numbers of Connecticut students, it helps them to do that. It sort of does both, and I don't want to lose that. I don't think it's good for the state to have particularly some of the more highly selective institutions to say, you know, we'll take the, we'll take five more kids from California who are full pay, and we won't, because we need some state money.

They're, I guess the message is, I heard a lot of testimony before, well, they've got institutional aid. We do have institutional aid. Since 2008, it, and I don't, Jen, I don't know if you have the number that's gone up, but it has drastically increased, because every kid who didn't need aid needed it, and students who were on aid needed more. There's a limit. It's unsustainable. It is unsustainable. There are no drawers filled with money.

So I think that every one of these presidents and every one of the colleges that I represent have made changes, have cut programs, have stopped construction, have laid off people to fund more and more institutional aid. That's the bulk of our budget. This program in, frankly it's, you know, you asked what the percentage is.

Fifteen million is a small percentage of overall tuition dollars and overall aid compared to our aid. But it helps. There's just a limit. So, and, you know, I guess the only other thing I would say is I think, you know, are there tweaks that can be made to existing programs? I'm sure there are, and we should talk about them.

It's just, there's certainly a fear that as you, at this moment with aid being so, there's such a great need for student aid, and the state dollars are so small, let's not mess it up. Tweak it, but let's not completely mess it up and see, you know, let's just hope that things are going to be okay.

JULIA MCNAMARA: You know, many times, if I may, many times people will say, well, you know, independent colleges have huge endowments and all that kind of stuff. You know, we really do not. Walter alluded to this earlier. Albertus, for example, has a very small endowment.

The funds that we give out are funds that would have gone to operations. We gave out about $7.4 million in Albertus Magnus College grants to the 94 percent of students who, you know, are Connecticut residents in our state. So that whole argument about the big endowment thing is just not there.

SENATOR BYE: You know, I think it's important that this Committee does understand that, how many of our colleges --

JULIA MCNAMARA: Thank you.

SENATOR BYE: -- and because you put so much with financial aid that that's the case. We have a couple of big, examples of colleges with big endowments, but most do not. And having worked at Saint Joe's, I know that that's –-

JULIA MCNAMARA: Thank you.

SENATOR BYE: -- that's true, and you're doing everything you can. And there's no doubt. We're just trying to figure out at a policy level what's the best way to support students. And I just want to be clear, in my, the way I was speaking, I did not mean to say the kids weren't getting the money, and I think President Harrison was right to say the kids are still getting the money.

We don't doubt that. We're just, I guess we're just looking at it at the distribution on a per pupil basis in a different way. That's what the governor has proposed, and we're trying to figure out is that the way to do things. Representative Lavielle. Representative LeGeyt.

REP. LEGEYT: Thank you, Madam Chair. And good afternoon, everyone. There may be a difference of opinion on this Committee around the circle here about the benefit of this proposed change in the scholarship programs. I look at it from the standpoint of leveling the playing fields.

And when this Committee deliberated the reorganization of higher education a couple years ago, there was a real concern that the issues and the missions of the four-year institutions versus the community colleges had a, would, was going to have an adverse impact on the ability of the Board of Regents to equitably administrate what needed to be done to advance the causes of those institutions.

And I, and to some degree, that's been borne out. By recapturing the scholarship programs from the private institutions and putting them all into one basket to be administered by the state I think is much the same process whereby the state, it's going to be difficult to equitably administrate to the needs of those different groups, privates versus publics and so forth. And I, for that reason, I think that it's not a good idea.

And I don't think that all the considerations that go into providing funds for private institutions, and one of them that you've alluded to, Judy, about the disproportionate cost of attendance, I think that should be considered, because if someone wants to go to a private institution versus a public, that's something they have to think about.

So when it comes to this proposal to consolidate these scholarship programs, I, for one, am against that process. I also have a concern that apparently I'm, that you're sharing about fees for approval of licensure and program approval.

And so I have a question regarding that, and the question is, and this is for you, Judy, you know, as the coordinator, I'm not sure what your title is, president, chief executive officer, whatever, as the governor's administration was considering that, putting that into this bill, I'm wondering if they solicited your input at all, or did you find out about it when the bill came out?

JUDITH GREIMAN: Ooh, you throw the tough ones. We did see the proposal by the department that was submitted, I think, in the fall when state agencies submit their legislation, so we had seen a proposal. You know, I don't think the governor would normally call us out or probably anybody else. But we had seen the proposal.

We are, you know, on the very positive side, involved in, I mean, as many of you know, we've objected to the notion of the program, the straight program approval process for years. There really are 36 states where private colleges do not go to their states for approval of their academic programs.

And, you know, on a positive note, we've been engaged in conversations with the governor's staff about finding ways to change that approval process. And I, you know, they've been helpful and thoughtful conversations that I hope will result in a change that we can bring before you and move on.

I think that these fees, they're for, you know, new institutions coming to the state. They're for institutions just operating on an annual basis. There's an annual fee. And they're for program approval. And I think that, you know, I saw the department's testimony, which says 44 of 48 states say they have some fees for some form of program approval.

Given that 36 states do not do program approval for private colleges, I assume that's not the academic program approval that we're talking about, and maybe it's the annual fee, or maybe it's the new institution. I don't know what it is, but I'm, you know, I've got e-mails popping into my phone today from all my colleagues across the country with their notion of what the fees are in their states, so we'll talk to the department and understand what that is.

I don't think it's by and large on the academic program approval that we have. And I think that these institutions would say, you know, whereas in most other states when an employer needs a particular academic program, the campus can go through its process and put the program out. In this state, we go through a state review process. This proposal is in addition to that, we would pay for it.

It does, I mean, I think Walt said it's anti-innovation. I think it does, it is an obstacle to our meeting economic development goals for this state. I think we've shown that we can meet those goals if you look at, you know, in your charts that we've given you to those degrees and those key economic development sectors. They're coming out of our sector. So I would hope that we don't impose even more fees on these institutions.

REP. LEGEYT: Thank you

JUDITH GREIMAN: Thank you.

SENATOR BYE: Thank you for that answer. Representative Maroney.

REP. MARONEY: Thank you very much. And one thing I also want to applaud you on is you mentioned the percentage of your student bodies that are students of color, but also you do a tremendous job of graduating first generation college students, which are another high-touch group that need that extra support.

And I also want to thank you, I did have the question, as someone new to the Committee, I was trying to reconcile how 44 out of 48 states charge fees with the fact that 36 don't have an approval process.

My question for you is, is your objection to this program more that it takes away your institutional control to give out the financial aid than it is the dollar amount, meaning that if there were a Governor's Scholarship that in some form took into account the cost of education, so let's say it was a higher amount for the private schools, would that be something you would support or you would not support that, because it still takes away the control?

WALTER HARRISON: Well, personally, I mean, I suppose Senator Bye and I have different opinions about how this will work, but if hypothetically one could come up with a structure that took into account the cost of higher, of education, I personally, hypothetically, wouldn't mind. I can understand the feeling like taffy, being pulled back and forth.

It doesn't make me feel very happy to have to come in front of you and say I think there's disadvantages private to the extent it's, to the improvement of publics, because I believe in the improvement of both systems. So if you could do that, fine. Every analysis I've made of this is that what's being proposed is essentially a major shift of the funding towards students going to public institutions.

That may be, it might be the best public policy decision. I don't think it is, but if it, if that's the intent, let's have that discussion instead of, so to answer your question, in my view, only speaking for myself, if one could devise a system that took into account the cost of education, I'd be in favor of it.

Now just one final thing, I think you know this. Does it, is what it takes, what it costs to educate a student at the University of Hartford appreciably different than what it costs to educate a student at the University of Connecticut? No. Why do students pay less at the University of Connecticut? Because the taxpayers subsidize the state of Connecticut and not education. They should.

There's a, I believe very strongly in public education. But then if you go back and count that as the way against us and the way you determine these funds, I think it's sort of doubly hurting us.

REP. MARONEY: Thank you.

REP. JANOWSKI: Thank you. I just want to thank you for being here on behalf of the independent colleges. I am a product of both. I attended the local community college, and I feel very fortunate that I was able to transfer and have all my credits accepted from Manchester Community College to Trinity College. And to this day, there were other opportunities.

There were, there was UCONN, and there were a few other schools that I could have transferred to, but I chose Trinity primarily because it was right for me, and it just gave me that added feeling of a little bit more security having come from the community college level. And so as a transfer student, a commuting transfer student, until this day, I thank for the opportunity to being able to have done that.

Now I could have attended UCONN, but it was less difficult to transfer my credits, believe it or not, to Trinity College than it was to UCONN at the time, and I just couldn't understand that. So I know where you're coming from, and I appreciate your being here. And I do have a question.

And I also know that having been on campus for a number of years, I transferred in as a sophomore, I graduated two years later as a senior, and there were a great deal of students that really, the number of students that graduate from the independent colleges is extremely high.

And I think part of it has to do with the support system that exists there. There wasn't one day where there wasn't contact with some professor about something or other. So I appreciate that as well.

What concerns me now about this new proposal is that as I understand it, and I hope I'm understanding it correctly, the dollars would no longer go to the colleges to, for their students, but basically the students would somehow apply, it would be administered either through the state of Connecticut or through an independent entity hired by the state of Connecticut.

And then the students would apply or, to colleges after they determine what tuition, what scholarships they would be getting. Can someone clarify that for me, because, you know, the term goes to, directly to the students is kind of confusing.

JUDITH GREIMAN: I think it's a little confusing, and I think some of it, what's confusing is how people are talking about it. But here's my read on it. I think that the, so currently we have the Capitol Scholar Program, which is administered by the Office of Higher Education. And we have CICS and CAPCS, which are where the money flows through the Office of Higher Education to the institutions.

In most respects, that won't change. So I think that the part of the funds that are need/merit will, as far as I can tell, will continue that a student would apply directly as they do today to OHE for those funds. The need-only funds or the rest of the money would go to the schools in a different way than it does today so on different, a different allocation strategy and would go with more restrictions than there are today.

But it would go to the institutions for their financial aid directors to then select the students within those restrictions to give the grants. That's my read on it. I don't think it changes where a student is applying for the money.

REP. JANOWSKI: Good. I'm glad you clarified that. So it looks like there'll be two systems in place, part of the existing system and then a new system for the need-only students.

JUDITH GREIMAN: Yes, and I guess I should say there's this, there is a third component, and I actually am not sure as to that administration. So the third small component is the, Jane called it the kicker, and I can't remember what the, you know, it's for students who are returning who meet a certain academic level, and I actually just, I don't remember.

REP. JANOWSKI: Okay. That's okay. So that, I just have one follow-up question. So based on that definition, is the concern that ultimately once these applications are in the pot, the choice will be made based on who to give, how to dole this out based on where the student is going to school?

In other words, will more students be chosen based on public funding, will more of the funding go to public institutions versus private institutions such as the independent colleges? Is that a concern, because it appears that that would be a concern to me based on the way you just described, because somebody else is making the decision.

JUDITH GREIMAN: I think it's, so right now, the way, I think that what you have is that there are similar, you know, kind of nationwide statistics on income, first generation, et cetera, pretty similar public to private. But the number of students in the public sector is greater.

Right now, the CICS funding goes to the institutions based on their number of Connecticut residents from two years ago. In this, it would be based on an EFC level selected by the Office of Higher Ed, and it would be from a year ago, which I think is great to have, you know, fresher, a fresher moment in time.

So I think that there is a concern that while the income levels may be similar, you know, we may be serving, we're serving first generation, we're serving low income, they're serving, there are more students, so it could shift the money.

The other big concern is that there's now flexibility within the money that each institution has to help students meet their needs. This would take that away. It would say, if you're this EFC, you get this amount, period. You get 2,000. You don't get 4,000. You get 2,000. And it doesn't include the cost of attendance.

So there's no, you know, the University of Connecticut student is going to get the same amount as the Southern student even though the tuition is different. The Quinnipiac student is going to get the same amount as the Central student even though the tuition is different. And it's not how the Pell Grant Program works, for example. It's not how many other states would do this, do it. Cost of attendance is the other issue.

REP. JANOWSKI: (Inaudible) mentioned, I think you said the Central student would get the same amount as the UCONN student regardless of the tuition, and what would a student at an independent college get? Same? Okay. Thank you.

REP. WALKER: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. That's okay (inaudible). First of all, I just want to say to the General Chairlady of the Committee, I'm very happy to hear your first statement that you made about the fact that part-time students cannot be eliminated in this, because that's really important.

And especially from my district in New Haven where I think we have one of the largest concentrations of independent schools, I think Representative LeGeyt would probably be surprised on who supports the independent schools and everything, because in my district, we have quite a few independent schools who do a fabulous job.

I am a product of the state university system, no question, but I think all our children are different. I have two daughters, one daughter who went to a very large state university, and I have another one who went to a very small private college. And I think what we need to do is make sure that we offer all of our children the options so that they can make those choices of where they go to school.

We are limiting them quite quickly, because we can't afford to pay for all of them going out of state because of the fact that it costs so much. But the experience of a small independent college versus a, the experience of a large state university is different, and every child is not the same in the way they want to go to college and how they want to go to college. But the fact that they want to go to college should be our main purpose, and it should be the focus of what we want to do here with this, with these state tax dollars that we have.

My question is about the fees that are, that you mentioned in here in the report, in your testimony, Judith. You talk about the amount. Do you pay fees now currently to the state on any level for any of the things that are identified in this, in the, in Senate Bill 844?

JUDITH GREIMAN: As far as I know, no.

REP. WALKER: So the $2,000 annual fee for every in-state is new. And then for every time you make a change in any academic area -–

JUDITH GREIMAN: Yeah.

REP. WALKER: -- it would be another 500. So if you decided to change the way you delivered your accounting as well as maybe your English for European studies or something like that, we have to, you would have to pay $500 for changing the delivery of your system.

JUDITH GREIMAN: That's what it looks like.

REP. WALKER: Which would then –-

JUDITH GREIMAN: And it would (inaudible).

REP. WALKER: Which would then say it would be cheaper for you just to stay the same and never change. Yeah, that's what I thought. Thank you very much for your testimony. Thank you. Thank you.

JUDITH GREIMAN: And if I could just, so Representative Walker has seen the magic that happens at Albertus Magnus College and has come on several occasions to breakfast and met the CICS recipients, and we really appreciate that (inaudible).

REP. WALKER: I will, in all disclosure, I've been to Albertus, I've been to University of New Haven, I've been to Quinnipiac. I'm missing a school. I'm going to get an e-mail when I get home. Oh, I've been to Southern too and Gateway and Yale University. That's the other one. I knew I'd, I knew there was another school somewhere in New Haven.

REP. WILLIS: Representative Walker, you transferred a lot.

REP. WALKER: So, I mean, you know, in, no, I visited. I didn't go to school, I visited. Look, my parents were upset about transferring twice. But it, you know, I've been to all of them, and the best thing I did was going to all of them and seeing each one of the different students, student bodies. They're all unique in their own way, and it's fabulous to listen to young minds grow and develop. So thank you, and thank you for your testimony.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you, Representative Walker. Any other questions or comments from Members of our Committee? Thank you, Judy. Thank all of you for coming here today. It's tough decisions to make this year. Not enough money.

Glad you guys are paying attention. Vijay Nair followed by Chris Marcelli.

A VOICE: (Inaudible).

REP. WILLIS: Maybe she left.

VIJAY NAIR: Okay. So thank you for this opportunity to testify on S.B. 844. My name is Vijay Nair, and I am the president of the Connecticut State University American Association of University Professors, which represents 3,400 full-time and part-time faculty, librarians, coaches, and counselors at CSU.

I would like to start by thanking Governor Malloy for proposing a budget that attempts to preserve funding for the Connecticut State Universities. However, the budget recommendation for CSU will not enable our universities to hire more full-time faculty that we urgently need and that we were told would be a result of the consolidation that occurred 18 months ago.

Our organization has been lobbying for funding for additional full-time faculty for CSU for over ten years. Since 2003, the number of full-time faculty positions has remained relatively stable at or around 1400, while the number of part-time faculty has grown dramatically at CSU from approximately 1250 in 2003 to nearly 2,000 in 2013. That's 60 percent growth over ten years.

Adequate levels of full-time faculty are crucial to the functioning of the university. Further, having inadequate numbers of full-time faculty affects student retention, graduation rates, and workforce development. Like the University of Connecticut, CSU needs a significant investment from the state to hire full-time faculty.

The Connecticut state universities also provide bachelor's and master's degrees in STEM fields and would welcome an investment in faculty so that our universities can also contribute to the Governor's goal of responding to the needs of business and industry in the state by increasing the number of STEM graduates in Connecticut.

Plans to increase the number of faculty, especially in STEM areas, were made last summer when the Board of Regents had identified $5.5 million in savings. At that time, they pledged to hire at least 47 new faculty across 17 ConnSCU institutions. We later learned that during the same period, many unwarranted salary increases were awarded to several ConnSCU employees while faculty salaries were frozen.

Then on the heels of that discovery, the Board of Regents instituted a hiring freeze following the governor's rescissions in late November 2012, which canceled out the new faculty positions. So the reorganization has not resulted in putting more money in the classroom, which was its primary justification.

Still, the Board is expected to raise tuition that our students pay, which is nothing more or less than a form of taxation imposed on those who can least afford it. We join our students in protesting this action.

Another justification for the reorganization was improved efficiency. If the history of the past year is any indication, this goal will also be not met. For example, the present law requires that the Board of Regents create distinct missions for the community colleges, Charter Oak State College, and Connecticut State University. This section of the law was added to alleviate student and faculty concerns that their institutions and systems would lose their identities with the merger.

The ConnSCU Mission, Vision, and Goals that was proposed by the, approved by the Board of Regents in September does not contain separate and distinct missions for the three systems. The Board of Regents has since started work on separate mission statements for the systems, but strategic planning is being driven by the ConnSCU Mission, Vision, and Goals Statement, which actually makes no sense.

CSU-AAUP, along with other campus leaders, have written and expressed their concerns to the Board of Regents over the mission statements. They did not respond. The Faculty Advisory Committee has presented to the Board and has written to the Strategic Planning Committee. Earlier today, you heard from the FAC on the outcome of those communications.

In addition, we have had an unprecedented degree of difficulty with the administration of our collective bargaining agreement. We understand that there has been a lot of upheaval at the Board in its short tenure, but it has become extremely difficult to get anything done, including getting access to routine reports or meeting mandatory deadlines.

Before I end this testimony, I do want to share with you one success in this past year, the completion of the Transfer Articulation Policy, also known as TAP, that allows for improved transfer between the community colleges and CSU. This achievement is due to the tireless effort of faculty, staff, and students working together to create good policy for our students and for Connecticut.

However, it should be noted that the faculty had to be extremely persistent to have their voices heard in the TAP discussion, a matter that deals mainly with curriculum which is normally under the purview of the faculty.

In conclusion, we feel that the governor's budget recommendations present a significant challenge that this relatively new organization will have difficulty in overcoming. Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you. And I think you've heard some of our concerns throughout the day and certainly on the mission statement and that we expected three specific individualized missions from the Board of Regents, and hopefully, I thought that they heard that today and had plans to move forward on it.

I do regret, it's unfortunate about the faculty. We were promised 47 new faculty members, and that issue is still, we're still looking at that to see what we can do there, because that was a promise that was made in consolidation. Thank you so much for your testimony.

VIJAY NAIR: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: I am going to call up, go to the public official list now. Senator Hartley has been waiting patiently for over three hours.

SENATOR HARTLEY: Tick, tick, tick.

REP. WILLIS: I know. My bills are all dead in the Senate, right?

SENATOR HARTLEY: No, you have Senator Cassano there, your guardian angel. Yeah, Madam Chair, I had with me today three of my local manufacturers, Dave and Doug, and I believe that they are, and identify themselves when they speak into the record. Yes.

And thank you very much, and believe me, I know, because I've left my Public Safety Committee meeting under the tutelage of my Co-Chair, Representative Dargan, and to kind of come back down here. So I'm very appreciative, first of all, to have the opportunity to appear before you.

And for the record, my name is Joan Hartley. I am Senator from the 15th, which actually is the heart of the Naugatuck Valley, home to a very strong contingent of small manufacturers, many of who are second and third generation manufacturing entities and family businesses.

I am officially testifying on two bills though today, Madam Chair and Members of the Committee, and that is S.B. 476 and S.B. 333. So we will talk about the first bill, S.B. 476, which is AN ACT REQUIRING INPUT FROM LOCAL MANUFACTURERS AND DEVELOPING MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS AT THE REGIONAL COMMUNITY TECHNICAL COLLEGES.

As this Committee certainly recalls, in the last biennium through your leadership and in conjunction with the governor's vision, that we should support and grow our manufacturing center, our manufacturing sector, this, of course, in recognition of the fact that for every one manufacturing job we have here in the state of Connecticut, there is a multiplier of five.

For every dollars that we invest, and Jack Traver over here will probably correct me on the stats, because has been much more conversant than I, but close to $1.50 is returned into the economy. And we also, at the same time, recognized when you were working on this landmark legislation that our, the average age of our manufacturers was creeping up to the fact, to the extent that we are now, the average worker is about in the mid-50's.

With that, you all shepherded through the passage of the advanced manufacturing technology program, which was a bold step to reinvigorate the manufacturing pipeline and to provide job-ready trained employees to meet the needs of our manufacturers and our employers who had been having this conversation with us for quite some time.

Naugatuck Valley Community College was one of three new sites that was chosen to be a host to the manufacturing program. I'm pleased to report to you today that in very short order they have met and surpassed every one of the instituted milestones. We passed the bill, what was it, May, June, probably effective, what, July, Representative Willis?

And throughout the summer, they worked rigorously to do the retrofit and sit out of the actual classroom and manufacturing floor space. And we ceded the first cohort the end of August into September, and at that point, we even surpassed the enrollment that we were required, that you instituted by the legislation.

For the spring semester, we will have a continuation of that. And in fact, we've started an evening division, so there will be a day division and an evening division. And all told by the academic year '13-'14, we will have trained 100 students who will be job ready and we think very employable at that point.

The purpose today of the proposed bill is a very simple concept, and that is to say we need to have input from the local manufacturers who are the end user here of this product to ensure that we are preparing students to the jobs that will be available and in this instance in the Naugatuck Valley.

And I have with me today several manufacturers, and there were others who will be submitting testimony about this, to share with you their experience and concern on the program. Simply put, Madam Chair and Members of this Committee, it, there needs to be a recognition that all manufacturing in the state is not the same. It's not a cookie cutter.

For example, for our purposes in the Naugatuck Valley, we are not heavily CNC based. We're not aerospace industry that for, perhaps you see in Senator Cassano's region or Representative Haddad. What we are is precision machining, tool and die.

And, actually, I think Doug or Dave is going to talk to you about a survey that the manufacturing association did in the Naugatuck Valley about, in fact, what our manufacturing profile is. And so it turns out that about 17 percent of the manufacturers in the Naugatuck Valley are CNC operators. The remainder are the precision tool and die manufacturers.

So simply said, the concern is to allow for local input to be sure that we are training for jobs that we actually have and, with regard to the manufacturers who are surrounding me here, that we aren't actually training so as to lose our employment base but rather to have them prepared for the jobs that we have in our area.

So this has been a great program. It certainly is a flagship piece of legislation from this Committee. And we are very grateful to have the opportunity and to ask for this consideration on manufacturing. And I will defer to my colleagues, perhaps Jack Traver from Traver Corporation first.

JACK TRAVER: Thank you so much. Representative Willis and Members of the Education Committee, thanks for giving us the opportunity to speak before you on this important bill, Senate Bill 476, giving us, giving local manufacturers some latitude in developing manufacturing technology programs at the regional community college level.

Again, through your efforts with the outstanding legislation that made the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center possible at Naugatuck Valley, I want to thank you for that. Obviously, the basis for it was recognition on your part of the very successful program that was already in place at Asnuntuck up in Suffield, Asnuntuck College.

And so as to make sure that it moved forward in a positive manner, it was set up that the other three sites, Naugatuck Valley included, should follow that model so as to make sure that it was being done well. And pardon me for the lack of a little bit of an introduction. If you don't mind, I just want to back up a second.

I'm Jack Traver, president of Traver IDC. We're a, this is our 75th anniversary this year. We're a third generation manufacturing company in Waterbury that was started back, by my grandfather back in the recession. And in addition to that, I'm also past president of the Smaller Manufacturers Association.

And I'm with both Doug and Dave and also sit on the Boards of the Manufacturing Alliance of Connecticut and the Manufacturing Advisory Council of the Waterbury Chamber of Commerce as well as the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center Advisory Council at Naugatuck Valley. And so back to the point at hand, as Senator Hartley was pointing out, there is definitely totally diverse types of industry that exist in different sections of the state.

And just to put it into a little bit of perspective, in the Greater Waterbury area, Waterbury having previously been the brass center of the world, many small companies sprouted up from that and still exist and are thriving today that specialize in what we like to call high volume/low cost precision parts that, as Senator Hartley said, have little or nothing necessarily to do with the aerospace industry or some of the larger precision machining parts.

And so moving forward as we try and make this program at Naugatuck Valley very successful for our workforce, our local workforce, we need some modifications to the curriculum and not just follow the Asnuntuck model to the T, because there are, you know, some of the curriculum does center around the CNC programming aspects, which is a small part of what our high volume manufacturers do in the Greater Waterbury area.

You know, just to give you a level of magnitude, right in the city of Waterbury alone, we're manufacturing over six billion battery cans a year, the cans for double A's and triple A's and C's and D's. And so basically virtually every battery that gets consumed in the entire United States that's manufactured by either Duracell or Energizer is made right in the city of Waterbury, requires a completely different skill set, also, you know, tons of cosmetic containers for the cosmetic industry, many small manufactured parts for the automobile industry, et cetera, medical devices, and those types of things.

So when you're making, you know, hundreds and hundreds of parts a minute as opposed to one large part, obviously, we need to have our curriculum at least partly reflect the needs of these tool makers in terms of things like metallurgy and other metal stamping skills that are important with the tool makers.

So this is the reason that we, the local manufacturers and all of the sponsors of this bill from the Greater Waterbury area feel it imperative to allow the input of the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center Advisory Council to reflect the equipment, both the equipment and the curriculum at the Center that would be most beneficial to the needs of the workers that we're trying to employ in our local area.

And, again, I don't want to mislead the Committee into thinking that we're trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. You know, Dave, being very instrumental in the curriculum, and Doug as well can speak to that a little bit more. But basically we're talking about small modifications to the curriculum.

You know, at least 80 percent of the curriculum being taught at, in the Asnuntuck model is exactly what we need. But there are a few things that it's important for us to adopt, so I'll conclude my testimony with that. Thank you so much.

REP. WILLIS: Can I interrupt for a second?

SENATOR HARTLEY: Yes, of course.

REP. WILLIS: I have a question in terms of curriculum, because, you know, as my former Co-Chair, so you're experienced on this Committee, you know, we have stayed away from curriculum, you know, mandates and left that up to the school. So I'm a little confused as to, because this really requesting that we get involved with determining curriculum at our community colleges, or am I misinterpreting this?

SENATOR HARTLEY: No. Thank you for your keen eye as always, Representative Willis, and it's always been a pleasure to work with you on whatever side of the desk. Let me just say that this is a much larger conversation. This is about the success of this program. And so it's not on that micro level, and you're right, we ought not to be ladening the statutes with minutia of curriculum and much other things.

However, this is, you know, much larger than that, and this is the success of the program. If we are training workers for jobs that we don't have, one, we are misallocating our money and not being shepherds of the taxpayers' money. Two, we are training workers who these manufacturers to my right and left are, quite frankly, desperate to have as the retirements continue to roll out to leave, to not only not be trained but to leave the area.

So it is about the success of the program, and in no way are we asking you to step in and to identify 101 math versus tech but to talk on a much more macro level to the industry to which we are designing this flagship program.

REP. WILLIS: Now in terms of the investment, we already made there, which is pretty significant, this is an amazing, I mean, I'm not an expert in –-

SENATOR HARTLEY: And I think you visited us too, yeah, yeah.

REP. WILLIS: Of course. Well, I feel, you know, Senator Hartley, I don't know if you realize this, how much involved she was going back to 2007 when we first became familiar with this program and put funding into it as Asnuntuck.

We saw its value then, and we always wanted to expand on it, and it always was a matter of getting someone to pay attention and realize we needed the resources to do that. But my question is, did, do we have to buy new equipment now, or how does that –-

SENATOR HARTLEY: You know, I think –-

REP. WILLIS: -- or have we brought in the wrong types of stuff?

SENATOR HARTLEY: Yes.

REP. WILLIS: I mean -–

SENATOR HARTLEY: No, no.

REP. WILLIS: Huh?

SENATOR HARTLEY: Actually, and I think my –-

REP. WILLIS: Just a thought.

SENATOR HARTLEY: -- manufacturers to the right and left can much more articulately address this. Dave or Doug, go ahead. Dave.

DAVID BOIUNO: Good afternoon, and my name is David Boiuno. I'm a manufacturing engineer for prospect machine products. We're also a three-generation family business located in the Naugatuck Valley region, and we also have been long ties with the SMA and the community and Kaynor Tech, Wilcox, and education and the development of the workforce for manufacturing.

And to speak to the specific question of the curriculum, we're not looking to make changes to the curriculum per se. We're really looking to be able to add the value-added component that will allow us to hire someone. You know, we've made a commitment, I've made a commitment, and our company has as I am one of the co-chairs to the advisory council. And I work very closely with the university.

And of the two interns that we're going to take into our company, we are going to have to retrain both of them into our specific needs. And, you know, we understand that that's a large commitment for us, because we would expect that someone coming from this advanced manufacturing program they would know what we were about and how would we, we would be able to use them.

So it's a scenario that a lot of companies that I've talked to aren't necessarily willing to make. You know, that's, the reason that they're going to this program is because we want to be able to hire them. And so now we're, we don't mind training them, you know, above and beyond that.

We know that it's a two-part, it's a, we both need to put in some effort to it, but getting them in, it's difficult when they don't really know what a press is, they don't know the safety that's so important to us. That's the number one topic in our company, is safety.

And to speak with the Asnuntuck program or the model and transferring it throughout the state, throughout the country is that the true success of the Asnuntuck model is the collaboration that they use to design and built the program. It was designed and built for a specific type of manufacturing.

And the reason it's a success is because that's where it is, that you didn't get input from manufacturing in the Waterbury area. We, there was no conversation with us at that time. We really value what Asnuntuck model is and the promotion of advanced manufacturing for where Connecticut wants to go and needs to be.

The reality of the situation in our area is that we aren't there yet. We aren't the advanced. We aren't the CNC center of the world. As Jack says, we make millions of low-cost high-precision components that have life and death repercussions if they're made incorrectly. So we do need aspects of the program, which is the discipline, the ability to learn, problem solving, math.

And what we'd like to do is just be able to not have to take it to such a high level as the Board of Regents and compete to say, we just want to add two non-credit courses, and we would like to take two of the non-credit, combine it into a credit course, and allow us two credits a semester, maybe three credits a semester to teach stamping-specific technologies.

And as far as the capital of expenditures go, it was budgeted in for the second part of the program to allow us to purchase equipment that would be able to be specific to our technologies. Thank you.

SENATOR HARTLEY: And Madam Chair, perhaps Doug, who is also a chair of the advisory council, could also be more articulate than certainly me.

DOUG JOHNSON: Madam Chair and Committee, thank you very much. Again, my name is Doug Johnson. I'm the vice president of operations of Marion Manufacturing. We're a 66-year-old manufacturing company located in Cheshire. I also sit on the board of directors for the Smaller Manufacturers Association. And as you're all aware, you have my written testimony.

One of the things that we see in the headlines every day are the manufacturing has started to see a renaissance here in Connecticut and other parts of the country. Ninety-one percent of manufacturers right now are struggling to find qualified workers. We've been in this mode for several years, and I think that's one of the reasons that the funding was allocated for the technology center.

You know, as we go through this problem that we're faced with -- I probably have a very compelling story. When I went to work for my company, I had three 65-year-old tool makers. You can't replace that kind of experience very quickly. It takes time. It takes money. It takes energy. And it takes an investment.

So when I turned to the college and to Naugatuck Valley and started to get involved, one of the things that we were told is follow the Asnuntuck model for year one, and in year two, we'll let you make some adjustments. And we entered into that very openly, and we made a lot of commitments, and a lot of businesses in the area, manufacturers in the area made commitments.

The Smaller Manufacturers Association, as an example, we committed. Myself and Jack voted on this at the board level to commit $25,000 to the school to cover items that were not covered within the budget. And we did that again knowing that if we were successful and we helped place the number of students that the Board of Regents had required us to do, that we would be allowed to make changes.

Now that we are successfully coming to the end of year one, and we're looking at what we're going to do to meet the needs of the manufacturers in the Greater Waterbury area to the Naugatuck Valley, I personally feel that there has been some pushback from the Board of Regents that we might not be able to make the changes. And that's very disturbing, because we do need to make some subtle changes to meet the needs of our area.

If we train for CNC, that's great, if we have a company that comes into the area that's going to hire 50 or 75 people a year. That's not our case. Most of the individuals who are in the program at Naugatuck Valley do not have the transportation to travel to Windsor or some of the locations where some of these CNC operators are being hired.

So what I think you ask, or you're asking us to, have you been involved in changing the curriculum? No, we're not. We're asking for someone to say to the Board of Regents, they have a reasonable request to take it into consideration, because I think that's what we were promised, and that, me as a manufacturer and someone who's invested a lot of time into this program, that's what I expect in return. Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you. Question from Representative Sayers.

REP. SAYERS: Thank you. I'm a little bit confused, because as someone who has been very much involved with the Asnuntuck model, I happen to know that they do work with the local manufacturers, and they're not all big aerospace industries either. Most of our, the manufacturers in our areas are mainly very small companies.

And mainly, they may be only making small widgets or whatever. And they have a lot of input into a lot of the training. In fact, we have contracts with many of our local manufacturers where we send, their employees are sent back to Asnuntuck for retraining in specific machinery that that company may have purchased or are planning on purchasing.

So your, from what I'm hearing, is you're saying that's not happening, that you're not doing that or not following through with that model. And so to me, the fact is that, very confusing what you're asking for.

SENATOR HARTLEY: Representative, through you, Madam Chair, if I might, Representative Sawyer, thank you so much for your question, and –-

A VOICE: Representative Sayers.

SENATOR HARTLEY: Sayers. Representative Sayers, Asnuntuck has been our model, our idol, if you will. And so to, and also knowing that you've been very involved with it, because it was a program that was initiated there and then rose to the level of recognition here in the General Assembly seeing the incredible outcomes.

And those outcomes are probably a product of just what you described, the work with the manufacturers. In our instance, we have been prescribed to a curriculum, a format, which, as you heard the manufacturers describe, Dave, who has two students, will have to retrain them.

So to your point, we have not, perhaps, enjoyed the benefit of the true Asnuntuck model where there is clearly that working relationship and that input by virtue of a prescribed program format.

REP. SAYERS: Yeah, which is probably why I'm very confused by your testimony. In fact, many of the manufacturers in our area actually pay for scholarships for students to go through the Asnuntuck program. That's how many of the students are.

Most of them have jobs with local manufacturers before they complete the program. So there's something going on right, and they are working with the local manufacturers, because obviously they have the skills that those manufacturers need.

JACK TRAVER: Representative Sayers, I think the point that we're making is that we're trying to follow that model exactly so the local Waterbury area manufacturers are working very closely with the Naugatuck Valley Community College Advanced Manufacturing Center just like the local manufacturers near Asnuntuck are working very closely with the Asnuntuck model.

But to Representative Willis's point, normally any community college would be able to control the curriculum that would be influenced by the needs of the people who were going to hire the people in that local area. And in our particular case, we're trying to work very closely with our local college to have them train the people for our local needs, but we're being handcuffed a little bit by the outstanding success of the Asnuntuck school where they're saying, no, no, we don't want you to work with your local college to tweak it to your local needs.

We want you to have it be exactly what the manufacturers in Suffield have decided works well for them and Asnuntuck. And we're saying there was a lot of great good that came out of all that hard work.

And now we're sitting at the table, we're working closely, we're at the college all the time telling them what we need, what equipment we need -- the capital money is already in place to purchase that equipment, to answer that previous question that you had -- and what little modifications might need to happen in the curriculum that was already developed up in Suffield to better suit our local needs.

And as again, and, again, I'm not talking major changes. I'm talking we're working very hard to prescribe small changes that we think would work well for us, because we're going to be the ones to hire those people. And the Board of Regents is saying, well, no, no, the Asnuntuck one works so well maybe we shouldn't let you change it at all.

And we're thinking that we know better what the graduates of our program in our local community college would need to know for us to want to hire them. So that's kind of what the purpose of this legislation is.

REP. SAYERS: I don't want to be repetitious, but it's still very confusing to me, because the Asnuntuck model is not simply one thing. It is not simply this is the curriculum, and there's no deviation in any way, shape, or form from that curriculum. Is, if an, if an employer comes in and says, I have a new machine coming in, and I need someone trained to do that, then that training is provided.

There are certification programs. It's many varied programs in Asnuntuck. It's not just one. And it does meet the needs because of local manufacturers, because that's where the jobs are. And it is the manufacturers coming in and talking to the program and then working to suit that program.

So I'm not so sure, if you're following the model exactly, then there's something very wrong with what's happening, because it doesn't sound like you're following the model.

JACK TRAVER: Well, I think, again, we are following the model, but the point is that Asnuntuck has been so successful that the process where the local manufacturers make a suggested change goes before the Board of Regents, and they go, okay, sure, no problem, go ahead and implement that. And now we're suggesting to make a local change, and we're being told, no, we don't want you to make that change.

So we are working very closely. We are trying to tweak the curriculum, and I know that the curriculum does get adjusted to the needs of the local manufacturers as Asnuntuck, and those needs are approved and moved forward. And we're just hoping to have the same latitude that's being granted to Asnuntuck for us.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you. I think this is a conversation that needs to happen after this hearing. I think we need to talk to the Board of Regents. I think we need to talk to some of the people that have been involved in this program for a number of years that we've worked with on this Committee and to try to see how we might address your concerns if they seem reasonable. And there's no reason why we can't be, shouldn't be more responsive. Yes, Senator.

SENATOR CASSANO: Yes, just a comment. I live in Manchester, so I know the Asnuntuck model well. I met many of the graduates. I would say that the model has probably, over its lifetime, been changed, amended, altered, and improved several times, maybe 10, 15 times as technology changes, as needs change.

And under the old system, you're correct, curriculum changes to make that a better program, which took place at the local level, because it made a better program at Asnuntuck, so much so that it became the model. The model is not the Bible, and that's, I think, where your issue is. It is a great model to do things.

But technology is changing, materials are changing, needs are changing. If the model restricts dealing with those kinds of things, then you're in trouble. In the past, the model never restricted that, because the changes were made by the curriculum committee by the director of the program working with the president to make sure that the model was always consistent with what was happening in technology.

And so I think the difference is instead of having the college make that decision as it always has, now that we have a Board of Regents, the college can't make that decision. The Board is making that decision.

I would much rather have the Advanced Technology Association or somebody else be making recommendations as to the technology necessary so that the model always is today's and tomorrow's model, not something that's going to be outdated.

If you have to wait for the Regents to make changes on the technology issues that we have today, we can't even retrain our own existing employees. There's not even a dollar in the budget for retraining existing employees. How are we going to move forward and continue to keep that program what it is?

So I would agree with you 100 percent that there's got to be some flexibility that the Regents have to be able to either give up or allow a committee to work with, create some system where changes can be made so that system is a today system every day.

If not, if we didn't do that, the Asnuntuck model will be obsolete in five years if they can't make changes. It will be obsolete, because they don't have the ability to make the changes to keep it the number one program that it has been for so long.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you very much. And thank you.

SENATOR HARTLEY: Thank you. I just wanted, if I might, Senator Cassano and to the Committee and to the Chair, we're just grateful to be able to share our progress. The program is a flagship without question, and these are the growing pains. It's about tweaking it, refining it, and, you know, making it better as we go along. So we're very grateful to have had this conversation with you.

REP. WILLIS: Well, let's see what we can do. Hopefully, we've gotten somebody's attention today. Thank you.

SENATOR HARTLEY: I also have another bill that I'll just kind of speed through. I understand the nature of the hour (inaudible).

REP. WILLIS: The people watching are trying to find their remote on the couch, so –-

SENATOR HARTLEY: So Madam Chair and Members of the Higher Education Committee, I also am appearing before you in support of S.B. 333, which is AN ACT REQUIRING A STUDY OF STUDENT ATTENDANCE AND DROPOUT RATES IN RELATION TO FINANCIAL AID DISBURSEMENTS AT THE COMMUNITY TECHNICAL COLLEGES.

Very simply said, this, the genesis of this was a result of my working with students at the community college, as I have over the years in various ways. I kind of became aware of the fact that there seemed to be a dip in enrollment and a spike in withdrawals at the time of or thereabouts of the financial aid disbursements, which were credited to the students' accounts.

Because there is a cost of living allocation which is factored into the student financial aid award, and it's generally analogous to, for example, in a four-year institution, to room and board. So then after expenses for tuition fees and books are deducted, there's this remainder, which is kind of the cost of living line item in that overall award.

And it seemed that, to me, actually, because there was one student that I was working with who just completely dropped off the radar screen that there was some kind of correlation to when the monies were in, put into the account, and they were drawn down for fixed cost, tuition, books, and fees. And then we had some, and then we saw numbers of withdrawals, complete withdrawals, not just, you know, on the add/drop scenario.

It's further complicated by the fact that in the community college system there is not a community-wide process for awarding in particularly the state portion, the CAPCS. So theoretically, a student can withdraw or can draw down the money, which, in this instance, would really be the cost of living money, and could withdraw, have a complete withdrawal, and could actually go and repeat this cycle at another community college.

So when they have drawn down financial aid, they are no longer in school, and that then translates to what you all have been working so vigorously on, and that is completion rates. So this proposal is very simply proposing that there be a look, a study vis a vis financial aid disbursements to withdrawal numbers.

And it be now, because I know you have this new proposal before you on now I guess what's being called the Governor's Scholarship, and then it should probably target those students who are being grandfathered in, because I guess as you start you continue under the process that you start under. But it might be instructive numbers to see actually what's going on.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you very much. Any other questions or comments to Senator Hartley? Yes, Representative Sanchez.

REP. SANCHEZ: Thank you, Madam Chair. Senator Hartley, do you have like a percentage of how much of that, dollar percentage, total of what's being used or in this case abused?

SENATOR HARTLEY: I do not, because we really don't have the benefit of a study that has actually been done. I will say to you though that on the Pell Grant with the feds it's Title IV, and they have a system in place where it's flagged, and therefore a student then gets noticed, and they are informed that they have to pay that back.

But we do not have that on our state allocation, and therefore, I will tell you that it was just shared with me with one of the institutions where a student went in, you know how word travels, and, you know, was applying for an $11,000 grant when the tuition costs were $1800.

So, you know, there's, I think, perhaps some messaging that we need to do by virtue of auditing our numbers so folks know that this allotment, which is typically, as I said, analogous to the room and board payment when you're in a, you know, four-year institution, is for the intent and purposes of living expenses while you are matriculating, not for use to be taken out, typically happens about a third, oh, of the way into the semester where, and this is all parenthetical, you know, people who work on financial aid have said.

But they know students have taken that extra allotment, it could be $1,000, it could be $1200, and went out and taken a note for a car or something. You know, bus expense would be one thing, but it, I don't think it's intended to be financing the, you know, automobiles. So I, that's the reason for my presenting it to you for whatever your opinion is on how to go forward.

REP. SANCHEZ: Just to, now you said, you stated that they do get a notice that they have to pay that back.

SENATOR HARTLEY: Federal, on the federal side, not the state.

REP. SANCHEZ: On the federal side, not the saints, state side. Okay.

SENATOR HARTLEY: Title IV.

REP. SANCHEZ: Okay. Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you, Senator Hartley. Another, as long as we're doing financial aid this year, this certainly be a time to have this conversation, so thank you again for bringing it to our attention.

SENATOR HARTLEY: Thank you to all of you. I know it's a long day, and my best to you as it concludes. Thanks.

REP. WILLIS: Yes, it has been a long day. We started at 10:00 a.m. I would like to, there are a lot of people still signed up, and I have a proposal. If some of the students came together, for instance, Chris Marcelli and Eric Bergenn, would you like to come up together and each do a minute and a half and move it along, or do you want your whole three minutes each? It's up to you.

A VOICE: (Inaudible).

REP. WILLIS: What?

A VOICE: (Inaudible).

REP. WILLIS: Okay. Then, Chris, come.

CHRISTOPHER MARCELLI: (Inaudible) to the Chair and Members of the Committee. With all due respect to the Senator that just left and who I was just bumped for, I would like to point out that while my friends and I aren't public officials, we have also been waiting for a very long time.

So now after we've spent about three and a half hours or more talking about the concerns of students, you guys will finally get to hear from a couple of us, so let's get started, shall we?

My name is Chris Marcelli. I'm with the student government for Central Connecticut State University. So are a couple of those guys behind me. I'm here today to speak in opposition to S.B. 844. I'm here on behalf of our student body. They're mostly too busy to get here themselves, and they did elect me and these others as representatives. You know what that's like. I mean, got to get here. Those kids do love to vote.

Anyway, even if they did have the time, most of them are really, frankly, too confused by a lot of what's going on to come here and offer testimony like this. As a member of my school's student government and as a student of economics, a lot of my peers come up to me, and they'll me to explain what's going on. And as much as it kills me to admit it, I can't, really.

You know, I can tell them about the state budget. I can tell them about the problems the state is facing. I can give them some historical data on higher education spending in the state of Connecticut. And I could throw facts and figures around with them for hours at a time if I had to. But at the end of the day, it boils down to the fact that the state has to cut spending somewhere, and this is where they choose to do it.

And unfortunately, these are students, so they're quite the inquisitive bunch, and they hit me with that question that we all dread when we're talking to people like that. Why? And I can't explain why, because it's hard to explain why over the past 20 years higher education has fallen from roughly a seven percent share of the state's budget to about the three and a half that's proposed in this year's budget despite the fact that the number of students at our public colleges and universities has steadily gone up during the same timeframe.

Now obviously, the state budget we all know has, it's larger than it was 20 years ago. The state's bringing in more revenue than it was at that time, which is fantastic, I guess. But I'm just not entirely sure why it hasn't led to a greater investment in higher education, particularly in the ConnSCU system, which is what CCSU is a part of, because it can be hard to explain why UCONN is getting a solid increase under this budget proposal while the ConnSCU system is getting cuts.

Don't get me wrong. Any investment in higher education is great. We're glad to see it. But we'd just like the state to remember that there are 17 other institutions that it has to think about and that it might want to invest in, especially because roughly 90 percent of our graduates stay in the state of Connecticut and, you know, produce and pay taxes in the coming years after that. I don't think UCONN can say quite the same as that.

It's hard to explain why the Board of Regents found themselves in a position last fall that led them to adopt a plan that's expected to mean a three percent fee increase every year for the next 25 years. So if you do the math on that, that comes out to about 110 percent increase over the next 25 years. That's more than double.

Now I don't have my degree in economics yet, give me a couple months, but I don't think wages are going to double in the next 25 years. Do you? It's hard to explain why our students sometimes have to work themselves to the bone just to be able to pay their way through school.

You know, a lot of the students that I know and a lot of students at our school and the other schools in the system work low paying jobs, often more than one, to help pay for their education. I'm sure everyone on this Committee, given what you do, is well aware that earning a degree gives graduates about double the earning power of someone with just a high school diploma.

I want that for my peers. I think you probably want it for them too. I know the state has problems that need to be addressed on a short-term basis, but we really shouldn't be letting that distract us from long-term thinking and planning, and I feel like that's what's going on here with this budget.

Those students I keep mentioning are good, hardworking citizens of this state who are trying to better themselves and their prospects. I want to see them move up, but if we don't start investing in higher education in this state, I don't know how they're going to do it. Thank you for your time.

A VOICE: (Inaudible).

CHRISTOPHER MARCELLI: I'm good.

REP. WILLIS: Practice, three minutes.

CHRISTOPHER MARCELLI: I will be happy to try to answer any questions you may have for me.

REP. WILLIS: Questions or comments from Members of the Committee? Thank you very much. Oh, Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER: Thank you, Madam Chairman. I just wanted to thank you for taking the time and just sitting there through all this. I know it's very difficult to do, but it is very important to hear from your voice.

And there are a number of us that are very concerned about not only the investment in higher education but the cost now associated that seems to be the tipping point, one we're facing and you're facing, particularly higher tuition costs and in addition to that, higher fees. Is that something that your student body has discussed about the potential for higher fees and how that impacts your budget in this next year?

CHRISTOPHER MARCELLI: Yeah, we do talk about that. I mean, most of the conversations that I've taken part in are amongst the, my peers in the student government, but we do also talk to the other students on campus. It's kind of what we're there for. I'm glad to hear you're concerned, and I hope it translates into action.

REP. WILLIS: Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE: Thank you very much, Madam Chair. Thank you for coming.

CHRISTOPHER MARCELLI: Thank you for having us.

REP. LAVIELLE: And you obviously really prepared --

CHRISTOPHER MARCELLI: A little.

REP. LAVIELLE: -- and rehearsed, so thank you. It's very pleasant for us, believe it or not, to hear something well prepared. The, your concerns are, we, a lot of us share your concerns. What can I say? What it would be very interesting to hear would be if you had any thoughts on how would you do it, because there are a lot of, it's not a trick question.

I'm not trying to put you on the spot. Everybody always says that, but I'm really not. I just, I think that your thinking is so clear that you probably have given a little thought to how you would like to see the state prioritize investment in its different higher education institutions, and I'd like to know more about that.

CHRISTOPHER MARCELLI: Well, see, I think, and maybe this was, maybe, perhaps you didn't mean it quite this way, but the way I just took the phrasing of that question at the end there is actually what I see as part of the problem. And I think my friends would agree with me.

I don't think it's so much about prioritizing amongst the institutions, because I think the first thing I would say in terms of how I would focus on it if I were in your positions, which I'm obviously not and probably never will be, I am tired of us looking at this as some sort of zero sum game between our system and UCONN.

We don't have a problem with UCONN. We hope they don't have a problem with us either. We are glad that UCONN's programs are being funded. We just want our programs to also be funded. I don't think it's so much about which, ooh, which school should be getting more money, who should be getting the larger share of that pot?

I just think the pot should be larger. I think Connecticut should be prioritizing higher education overall in general over other priorities, not so much prioritizing one school over another, which is clearly what we're doing at this point.

REP. LAVIELLE: Well, do you think that, again, you know, prioritizing, you could look at it as just institution vis a vis institution, right? But you can also, which, and I agree with you, that's probably not the way to do it, but within those institutions there are decisions on things to fund and areas where some have said there's an awful lot of waste and overspending and areas that should get more, and I wondered if you had any thoughts on that. We grapple with it all the time.

CHRISTOPHER MARCELLI: My thoughts on that I suppose in brief, because I do want to make sure that we get to move on to my peers quickly, is that you're absolutely right and that that would be true at the level of the state of Connecticut's budget in general. It happens everywhere.

You can always say, especially based on your own personal priorities and what you personally care about, oh, well, let's cut over here, because this is wasteful, we don't care about that. But I think there's plenty of things, especially at a university, that people outside the university setting would look at and go, that's wasteful.

And if you ask the student body, who are the ones paying the tuition and fees every semester, they might disagree with you. So I think it's important to remember that and to not get bogged down in focusing on, well, you know, let's make sure that the universities use this money as efficiently and as effectively as possible.

When you only give them so much to work with, sometimes you put them in a position where the choices they make aren't going to be the best, and they're well aware they aren't the best. You know, we interact with our faculty and administration. We talk to them. Dr. Adair, who was in here before, I had class with him. Love the guy. But that's not really the way to go. I don't really think that's what we should be focusing on.

REP. LAVIELLE: Well, it's, in any event, it is very interesting. As you say, you're the ones using the services. You are, as it were, the customer. It's a strange word to use, but you are in a way. And so what you think of how resources are used is very important, and I think any thoughts you have on that going forward are very useful for us and your, from your peers as well. So thank you so much for coming and for having the patience to wait.

CHRISTOPHER MARCELLI: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you. And thank you for coming. It's great when students come and testify before out Committee. We really appreciate it. Eric Bergenn.

ERIC BERGENN: Thank you. It's Bergenn. I'd like to just thank Representative Willis and Members of the Committee for having us today and for giving the time. Obviously, everyone wishes we could get a chance to speak earlier, but we all know that everyone wishes they got a chance to do that. So anyway, I'll get it started.

My name, as I said, is Eric Bergenn, and I'm here today on behalf of the almost 10,000 undergrads studying at Central Connecticut State University and at the same time in solidarity with the nearly 100,000 students in the ConnSCU system to speak in opposition to S.B. 844.

I'm asking you, as people representing the best interest of the state of Connecticut and higher education, please don't implement the governor's budget recommendations. You know that there needs to be more invested in public higher education in Connecticut and less in incentive programs, and you can make that happen. You have the power to do that, and that's why you're sitting here.

Normally, I would use this entire time to tell you about classmates of mine, one real quick, Maxie Murphy. She'd love to be here herself, but she works three jobs. She goes to class from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 pm. and drives 45 minutes to campus every day to attend class.

Or I could rattle off a bunch of numbers that are causing us a ton of concern. Instead, I think I'm just going to tell my story, because I think you guys know the numbers, and I think that everyone else is going to tell you the numbers.

So I was elected student body president for the second year last spring, and I'm here speaking for those who cannot. I'm speaking for those who are in class, and I'm putting myself in jeopardy of failing a class if I get another absence after today that I would definitely otherwise get an A in just so I could be here. Actually, now I'm missing a few classes, but that's neither here nor there.

I'm doing this because I realize that if I don't succeed at convincing you to protect our public higher education in Connecticut, we could lose the opportunity for students in my position to come back here next year and make the same plea.

I put in about 30 hours a week doing classwork, 30 hours a week fulfilling my duties as president of the student body, and I work every weekend providing personal support to a family with a developmentally challenged adolescent child.

I live across the street from our New Britain campus and do all right with grants, and I take out student loans, so I can afford to get by. I can't say that someone in my position would be able to continue to get by if state funding keeps declining and tuition keeps going up as a result.

Imagine if tomorrow's leaders can't afford to go to college. The person that would be here in my shoes speaking with you begging you to consider his or her 9,000 friends couldn't afford to get an education. The person that could be part of the more than 90 percent of ConnSCU grads whom stay in Connecticut earning their wage and paying Connecticut taxes never gets a chance to get a good job.

This is my opportunity to beg you not to let the governor make this mistake. I know he doesn't want to leave us by the wayside while UCONN and businesses get billions of dollars in investments. And I'm sure he just overlooked the other 100,000 students in Connecticut's higher education or didn't realize that we are the future of Connecticut too.

But I think that you would hire me as quickly as you'd hire any UCONN student or any other private school student. And I think that we should look out for people who don't go to these private schools and more expensive schools, because they can get a good degree from the ConnSCU institutions for a significantly lower price.

This budget, however, continues to drive the price of our degree up while endangering its value. But you don't have to let that just happen. You and your fellow legislators can help fix this.

You can help save Connecticut's higher education for these students and in the process guarantee a strong, skilled workforce for a strong economy in the state of Connecticut. Don't you want to be able to say that you did that, because I want to say that you did that? Thank you, and I'd be happy to entertain any questions.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you. Questions or comments? Yes, Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD: Thank you for coming, for staying, and I appreciate your testimony. And I know like the previous speakers, you know, my colleagues up here have said to the previous speaker, it can be a very frustrating process, and I appreciate that you stayed, because your voice is very important.

You know, I represent Mansfield, Connecticut, and I can tell you that the students who go to UCONN feel the same way you do. You, you know, there is a broad sense, I think, that public colleges and universities in the state of Connecticut are all well worth supporting.

And I would say that in, that the past practice or the tradition, the consequence of past investments in some of our public universities have been that there has been an increased awareness of the needs of the other universities, and so they tend to follow each other.

I am personally supportive of making additional investments in some of the other local colleges. I'm not that far away from Eastern or Quinebaug and plan on supporting some initiatives this year that make those investments. But I do think it's important that you're here speaking on behalf of your own student body and the other students at ConnSCU.

I am personally a product of public colleges and universities as well. I graduated from UCONN a long time ago. But, you know, what's interesting about my story, and I say this because I want you to know that we care, is that, you know, when I went to the University of Connecticut, my father, who's a construction worker, concurrently put me and my three brothers who went to Eastern through college.

And I'm not sure that that's possible anymore for a blue collar guy with a stay-at-home mom to even have a shot at putting four kids through college. I know how that education has enriched my life and the life of my brothers. And I know that I want students today to have those same opportunities.

And so I am gravely concerned about where we're headed with higher education, and I think that the fact that the majority of this Committee has hung in here as long as we have to listen to the folks like you, like yourself who've come to talk to us I think is an indicator that many of the people on this Committee feel the same way. So I thank you for coming here, and I appreciate your input.

ERIC BERGENN: And one thing that I'd definitely like to clear up, as my colleague, Chris, said earlier, is, you know, there is no hostility towards programs at UCONN. You know, I grew up watching the Huskies. They've had the statewide sports program. I love them.

My sister graduated from UCONN, currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program at UCONN. So, and I like actually the idea of a $1.5 billion investment in STEM education at UCONN, because it's necessary.

It's just, to me, when I look at this budget proposal, and especially when I look at how much has been publicized about the $1.5 billion investment and how much we're doing for higher education in Connecticut, and I look at just simply, and I'm, this is just looking at numbers, not comparing quality of education whatsoever, but that's a great investment for a population that's about a fifth of the size as that under ConnSCU that isn't getting an investment.

And it concerns me, but what concerns me even more is that there's a bunch of people, and I've seen stuff in the media from the Legislators here and outside of this Committee for sure, that they're really concerned about the rising costs of higher education. But there could be more done. Talking about it in the news isn't enough.

I mean, it might get you a little more popularity in your district, but it's not going to actually help lower the cost of going to college. I spent some time in construction before going to college, and that helped me get started, but I think that not only for ConnSCU or UCONN or even the private colleges, I think that Legislators as a whole need to form together on something that actually increases the portion, a significant increase in the portion of the General Fund that goes towards higher education.

I think the fact that we're looking at all these different new programs that are trying to help out businesses in Connecticut is like a move from here to there while ignoring things like education and infrastructure in order to get these interesting investments that might keep some jobs here or move some jobs around. It's just silly. It's counterintuitive. It's politicking, and it's just, it's not actually affecting anything.

We're ignoring the basic stuff and then moving on. So I think that we need to have people in our Legislature that are going to stand up and say, no, forget all of this. Let's wipe it out and put something real in here and invest in the basics that we need in the state in order to employ more people.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you very much.

ERIC BERGENN: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: I really appreciate your coming here. Yes.

A VOICE: (Inaudible).

ERIC BERGENN: I'm here. Don't worry. I'm not leaving.

REP. LAVIELLE: Then I'll jump in first. I just want to thank you, Madam Chair, very much. Applause, that's all I wanted to say. Thank you very much. Thank you, Madam Chair.

ERIC BERGENN: Thank you. Thank you to all of you.

REP. LAVIELLE: And I just wanted to say one of us, any of us will write you a note to say where you were this afternoon that you can give to any teacher. We'll give you points. Let me tell you (inaudible).

ERIC BERGENN: Yeah, the AAUP won't be okay with that, the curriculum, you know, but –-

REP. LAVIELLE: The AAUP?

ERIC BERGENN: Huh?

REP. LAVIELLE: Oh, we'll talk, cut you a deal. Hopefully, they saw you on television, so, yeah.

A VOICE: (Inaudible).

ERIC BERGENN: Yeah, thank you.

A VOICE: (Inaudible).

ERIC BERGENN: All right. Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Nick, I cannot make out the rest of the name but someone from CSU, not CS, Eastern.

NICK CHALEUNPHONE: Yes. My name is Nick Chaleunphone, and I'm from Eastern Connecticut State University. And my opposition to this bill, Senate Bill 844, would hurt me the most. The reason why is that it would make me a lot longer to graduate.

And as a science major and a biology major, I want to graduate in three years and to go on to grad school as a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant. Going to college there has given me a ticket out of like living in a middle class area. And Eastern has been very good to me. Cutting from Eastern would make it harder for me to graduate and put an undue burden on me and my family.

And I would like to say my mom used to work for the state of Connecticut, and she started when Ella Grasso was governor and retired when Rell was governor. She did 33 years. So as a student, you're looking at the face of what you're cutting. And if you're going to cut something, just look at the people who you're going to cut the most. And that's all I have to say, and any, I'll entertain any questions.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you. Thank you so much for your testimony. I really appreciate all of you who've stayed here like the students. It's impressive.

NICK CHALEUNPHONE: I had to skip two classes just to be here.

REP. WILLIS: Oh. Next time write that on the list. Well, you got a dose of democracy today.

NICK CHALEUNPHONE: Well, I'll have to explain that when I go back to Eastern and explain that in front of my professors and possibly the dean.

REP. WILLIS: Yeah. Well, explain to your professors you were here advocating for more money. They'll get that.

NICK CHALEUNPHONE: Thank you very much.

REP. WILLIS: You're welcome. Okay. Oh, I'm having a hard time with these names. Josh from, a student, AACC, gosh. Anyway, you must be Chris, Josh.

JOSH QUINTANA: Josh, yes. Thank you, Representative Willis and Ranking Members and Vice Chairs. My name is Josh Quintana, and I am the vice president of the Student Government Association for Manchester Community College.

I am here voicing my opposition to Senate Bill Number 844, AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE BUDGET RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE GOVERNOR CONCERNING HIGHER EDUCATION, on behalf of not only myself but the student body of Manchester Community College.

At current, the governor's budget proposes a cut of 14.5 million to the ConnSCU system, and of that seven million to come from the Community Colleges block grant. Of that, from MCC, we are currently cutting $875,000 or 875 hundred thousand dollars due to a midterm budget cut. Because of these cuts, we are cutting services to students currently enrolled and are forcing some students to look out of state to go to colleges.

This is a time, this is coming at a time not only when our tuition is expected to go up to maintain the institutions whose services are getting cut, but we are also losing one of our biggest programs, our athletics programs, which we are one of the few community colleges of the state to actually have an athletics program.

Not only that, but our sports facilities are still there and will only serve as a reminder to what we've lost at MCC. We had a nationally recognized, twice in a row, baseball team that first finished third in the nation and then fourth in the nation. We no longer have that, and now we're losing our, not only our soccer programs, both men and women's, but also our women's basketball program.

We are not only losing athletics, but student services, counseling, financial aid, admissions, and et cetera, as well as our academic support center, are being forced to cut staff and service hours. Our student services are being reduced, and these are front-line direct impact day-to-day student support areas that students require access to in order to successfully pursue both their academic and professional careers.

So essentially, when we are being, our tuition is expected to go up by 5.1 percent, we're paying more money for less services. What is also of concern, especially to me, is the governor's new scholarship proposals that make no sense on the community college level.

They require that a student be first time and full time a student, and this is not only discriminatory to the 4,785 students currently enrolled in courses who are part time at MCC but as a system-wide issue.

I would ask that this Committee and Legislature as a whole consider the issues raised here today, and I would hope that the Committee would consider the full effect on the student body at the community college level and the state universities.

These policies affect the system, a system that matriculates and aids not only more than half of all higher education students in the state but also matriculates and benefits the people of the state of Connecticut.

I hope that what I have said here today can lay the groundwork so that students, Legislators, and colleges can come together and work on an equitable solution so that we can benefit the ConnSCU system and do what is best for the state of Connecticut and its students.

REP. WILLIS: Josh, thank you very much. I actually is, I was concerned about one section of your testimony --

JOSH QUINTANA: Mm-hmm.

REP. WILLIS: -- about you're not only losing athletics, but you're also losing student services, counseling, financial aid, et cetera.

JOSH QUINTANA: Mm-hmm.

REP. WILLIS: Could you tell me a little bit more about that? What kind of counseling is being eliminated?

JOSH QUINTANA: (Inaudible), our counseling and advising? It's essentially so that I, as a student who go to Manchester Community College, I don't want to stay at Manchester Community College. I want to actually transfer to Central Connecticut State University. And those services are being reduced, and the staff is being cut in that area.

So essentially, used to wait like 15 minutes, 20 minutes tops to, for a counseling session to see what courses I needed to take and to make sure that my GPA and everything was in line so that I can successfully transfer. Now we are seeing lines up to 45 minutes to an hour to wait for the same 15-, 20-minute meeting.

And this is not only happening in counseling and guiding, or counseling and advising, I should say, but in financial aid when beginning of a semester and in the summer the financial aid office is literally going out into a registrar's office, which is also being reduced. So the lines there, literally, to register for classes and apply for financial aid could be an all-day affair.

REP. WILLIS: I, yeah. We're going to take this up with the Board of Regents. This concerns me. When we go in to the appropriations process, clearly, that needs to be a topic. You know, this is, we've been looking at trying to get the need for more counseling on our campuses, and this is somewhat disturbing.

I also wanted to just say to you, this is a very well written testimony. It reads very well, and you get to the point, so, and it shares some really insightful information for us. So I really appreciate that. It was most helpful. Any other questions or comments? Yes.

REP. ACKERT: Thank you, Madam Chair, and, Josh, as always, it's great to see you. You've been such an advocate for Manchester, and your colleagues from the CSUs are also been an, you know, outstanding (inaudible), so when you see why you get elected, we can see why, because you're there. And I see you at every event, every meeting and being very active with your, you know, with your college, so we thank you.

And we are disturbed by some of these issues too. Wholeheartedly, we are. My son went to Manchester Community College, got a great education, had some of those issues with getting in line for those. He waited a lot longer than 15 and 20 minutes, so it must, maybe it got a little bit better under President Glickman recently here.

But my children also went to Eastern and UCONN, so we do care up here, so I just want to keep everybody in mind of that. But thank you again for taking the time to come up here.

JOSH QUINTANA: Thank you, Representative Ackert.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you. Bill Fellows.

BILL FELLOWS: Hello there, everyone.

REP. WILLIS: Good evening.

BILL FELLOWS: Good evening. My name is Bill Fellows. I am currently a senior at Central Connecticut State University. I am an economics major, and I minor in mathematics. And I'm also pursuing a, I'm actually trying to, I want to become an actuary, so this is, now you guys are paying attention.

A VOICE: (Inaudible).

BILL FELLOWS: That's funny. All right. Well, here's the thing. I do have suits at home. I'm wearing this. The reason why I am dressed as, like this is because I am too exhausted. I am so tired of hearing all this stuff. And I don't know, it seems like at the time, well, before this, it seemed like bureaucratic nonsense.

But once I've heard all of this, all of, everybody's opinions, everything started to clear up. It, everything seems fluid, so which is great. Another thing is that I feel that, I do agree that you guys are looking for very strong leadership, and I feel that you guys, well, excuse me, I feel that, I feel, I feel that I am a good leader.

And another known fact is that it is very intimidating for me to do this right now, because I'm also in the Student Government Association, and I attend weekly meetings and whatnot, and I never spoke. So that right there just tells me how, tells you guys how important this is to me.

Secondly, about the proposed $1.5 billion grant to UCONN, I don't know exactly what the intricate details are, because this is so impromptu and last minute. Basically, what struck me hard is that, well, I grew up in Farmington, and I went to the Region Ten school district system, by the way.

When I was a senior in high school, there were, I don't know, I'm trying to find an appropriate way to say this, but there are, was so many students in my high school given that where they've grown up, they're stuck and stuck up. Like they were so excited to go to UCONN, but, you know what I mean, but I wanted to apply to UCONN, but I personally felt that CCSU would be right for me because of the kind of people that are there.

And I feel that if that grant, well, I'm not saying that you guys shouldn't get any money at all, but like, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that it would be taken the wrong way if it was passed, if this was passed.

And also I feel like as this is a very fluid process, this is amazing. I can't believe it. It's like all the stars are aligning. That's what I say. So, and so if that's the case, then perhaps maybe one of us could talk to the Governor Malloy or something. I don't know. I mean, I feel like the possibilities are endless. Is he here by any chance?

A VOICE: (Inaudible).

BILL FELLOWS: I'd love to answer any questions if that's the case.

REP. WILLIS: Representative Sawyer.

REP. SAWYER: I just wanted to say that actuaries rarely take public speaking. And to have someone step forward and speak in this presence is a big step to come to the Legislature and speak. So I would recommend that you do it again as often, because the more you speak in public, the easier it gets. Congratulations.

BILL FELLOWS: Oh, true.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you very much. Again, I'm going to have trouble with this. I think it says Eric Szabo. Good evening, Eric.

ERIC SZABO: Good evening, and thanks for sticking around. I know it's been a long day. For me too it's been a long day. But I'm a nontraditional student. I went to bed at midnight, because I was doing homework. I woke up at 5:30 so I could prepare my lunch so I could save money. I was in lab at 8:00.

From there, I went to a two-and-a-half hour lab, and I went right next to my physics exam. Following my physics exam, I went back to my lab to finish my experiment. That took me up to about 2:00, which is fantastic that we got started a little bit late on the public hearing part, because I had time to drive here, eat an apple, drink a cup of coffee, and change into a suit.

I am a nontraditional student, and in 2006, I bought a house. My long-term partner and I, we bought a house that was not the most we could afford. We bought a house that was well within our budget. And we did it, because we were, we wanted to be responsible with our money. In 2008, 2009, the economy collapses. And in between that time, I started going part time while working full time at Northwestern Connecticut Community College.

Right before the economy collapsed in that fall, I had switched over to CCSU. But after the economy collapsed, my long-term partner lost her job, and she was the primary breadwinner, which means I had to stop going to school and go back to working full time so we could fulfill our financial obligations. It took two years for her to find a job. It took another year for her to, for us to rebuild the safety net.

So here we are three years later, and I get to go back to school. CCSU has been fantastic. I am a molecular biology major. I am a single B-plus away from a perfect 4.0. Yeah, I put in about 70 hours a week between school and between studies, classes, and the research I do with the geneticists on campus. With this proposal, potentially, I have to go back working more.

That means less time for studying. That means A's may become B's. When A's become B's, my future prospects diminish. We talk about investing in Jackson Labs. I'm the guy the can run the lab. I'm a year away from graduating, and with my continued education, I'm the guy that can run that lab but not if I can't get there.

Education shouldn't be a hurdle. It should be a doorway. It should be an opportunity for us to have a future. But every time financial aid is whittled into, education becomes more expensive, tuition goes up, that opportunity becomes walled off. Little by little, we're institutionalizing opportunity.

We're getting further and further away from what Thomas Jefferson called the natural elite. It's not based on wealth. It's not based on what your parents can afford. It's based on what you earn, through work, through natural talent.

I understand that it's challenging to administer a state budget. It's a big state, a lot of pieces of the pie, but education should never be considered with the rest of any budget. We can't invest in our future and expect returns from that.

I understand that many of the Board of Regents might be hesitant to go against the governor, because most of you are appointed by the governor, I think nine of 15. So I wonder if maybe there's a little hesitation to go head on with him. You mentioned student services. As much as a 12 percent increase has been proposed if it weren't for the cuts to student services at CCSU.

Ultimately, you know, I want my future to materialize, not just for me but because I want the next me to have the opportunity to go to school, finish my degree, have a higher paying job, have more earning potential, and pay back into the system so the next me has the same chance that I've been given. But that can't happen if I don't have an accessible road to get there. Thank you very much, and I'll answer any questions that you have.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you. Thank you for sharing your story. It's why it's very important that we do have financial aid in support for our students, particularly our part-time students who are juggling life and college. And I congratulate you for that. You obviously work very hard at what you do. Any other questions or comments from Members of our Committee? Thank you very much.

ERIC SZABO: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: You said it very eloquently, so we didn't need to have questions.

ERIC SZABO: Thank you very much.

REP. WILLIS: Sorry I'm butchering it, but you wrote it in little bitty letters.

MARGARET MALASPINA: Good evening. My colleague, Dave Welsh, has come up with me. He's also going to give testimony, so we figured we'd spare you some time and take care of our agenda together. Good evening, Representative Willis and Committee Members. My name is Margaret Malaspina. I am the director of financial aid at Capital Community College.

I am here with my colleague, Dave, as I mentioned, also representing the other community college directors. Together, we worked collaboratively to come up with ideas to assess our information about the new Governor's Scholarship.

We're very happy to hear that my very first concern on my testimony will be addressed regarding the elimination of just full-time students with the inclusion of part-time students. I'm going to just jump quickly to some of the statistics. That could give you an idea of who these students are who will no longer be eligible because they don't attend full time, if it's just the part-time students.

I have drawn these facts from our most recently completed academic year, 2011-2012, and they pertain only to part-time students who enrolled on at least a half-time basis and received grants from the state student aid program.

There were 289 such students who received CAPCS. Two hundred and forty-five were adult students, 68 were married with children, 52 were single parents, 121 were in career programs, including 28 nursing students, 149 had a GPA of 3.0 or better, 66 qualified for the Dean's List, 103 were too well off to qualify for a federal Pell Grant but still demonstrated financial need as Capital students.

The average state grants awarded to these students was $1,224. We were able to help them reach their goals at a relatively modest cost per student. Finally, only 36 of these students, which equates to 12 percent, also used federal student loans. One possible consequence of the Governor's Scholarship is that more of these students would go into debt for the Capital, their Capital programs.

I know we, that you support part-time students, and, again, we're happy to hear about that. This was also addressed briefly, but I'd also like to express my second major concern, which would eliminate the possibility of using state funds, as we now can under CAPCS, to provide part-time student jobs with financial need.

Research has shown that students who work on campus are more likely to complete their degrees. Furthermore, our student workers play a vital role in providing necessary services, such as tutoring and library services, to all of our students.

The last point I'd like to make is President Obama supports the role community colleges play in providing the future, a future to students and business. In order to achieve all of these goals, adequate funding of the Governor's Scholarship is necessary. Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you. This was very helpful. The thing that, in your testimony, that has piqued my interest the most is the part-time jobs were used under CAPCS, which no one has mentioned thus far. If our, somebody could write that down, that we need to look at that as we move forward on this. And the other thing is Pell is not used in the summer at our community colleges. You're not Pell eligible.

MARGARET MALASPINA: Some students are Pell eligible.

REP. WILLIS: Some are –-

MARGARET MALASPINA: Yeah.

REP. WILLIS: -- but not, there's a caveat. I think you have to be in the semester before.

MARGARET MALASPINA: Well, for financial aid students who were full time in the fall and spring, there'd be no remaining need, no remaining Pell allocation, so there would not be Pell in the summer.

REP. WILLIS: That's, I want to look at that as we move forward, you know, with this, if we do something with CAPCS. I also want to ask you, one of the things that was so enlightening and eye opening, for me anyway, was to look at the numbers from comparing different community colleges to their financial aid award.

So same student goes to Naugatuck, and they get a different award than if they went to Northwestern. Could, you know, that was, to me, was a little alarming. In all these years I've been on it, I didn't, never knew that that was the case.

Can you speak to that, because it would seem to me that moving forward with this, with the governor's proposal, that that's, you know, a strong case for it, that the student who goes to Naugatuck should get the same award if they went to Northwestern and vice versa, that there should be, you know, I sort of assumed there was a level playing field.

MARGARET MALASPINA: Each college currently receives their own allocation under the CAPCS fund. We all have a system-wide awarding structure through the 12 community colleges. We do have an awarding structure. However, if they're partial Pell Grants, they could get the remaining in CAPCS.

If they not, then they can get full, if they don't get Pell, they can get full CAPCS. Some area awarded CAPCS funding for work. So those would be some of the reasons why there'd be differences in the award amount.

REP. WILLIS: But what if it's the same person?

MARGARET MALASPINA: Oh, the same individual. The awarding structure at each –-

REP. WILLIS: No, the exact same person --

MARGARET MALASPINA: Okay. Okay.

REP. WILLIS: -- registers for a semester at Northwestern, and the same person could register in Naugatuck, and they're going to get almost twice as much at Naugatuck Valley Community College. You're shaking your heads. I saw the number.

MARGARET MALASPINA: Yeah, yeah. I just, I wasn't, I didn't understand your question clearly initially. That does happen, and it is the allocated amount that each institutional has that could be a result of the reason why. Did you have anything?

DAVID WELSH: If I may, excuse me. Representative Willis, Members of the Committee, thank you for having us here. One of the things that might happen in this situation is that if, for example, this were a transfer student, the student might have been awarded at the first college with a certain amount of CAPCS grant.

The student might go on to the second college. They might have less available, and then they'd be spreading it out a little more thinly among their students. And they may be helping that student with another source of funds such as a tuition set-aside.

But within the community colleges, for about ten years, we've had a system-wide policy whereby we're directed to use our grants to meet tuition fees and books and supplies for all the students for whom we can afford it to do so. There could be legitimate reasons why a student might not receive the same CAP award at one college as at another. And the governor's proposal to standardize those awards does have a certain amount of logic to it.

A VOICE: Yes.

A VOICE: Mm-hmm.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. Thank you very much. Obviously, this is an idea that we're going to be massaging this bill. 844 is definitely a work in progress, and we, you know, we'll need input from the community –-

DAVID WELSH: Mm-hmm.

REP. WILLIS: -- college financial aid people as we move forward with this. So I thank you very much. Your testimony was very helpful.

MARGARET MALASPINA: Okay. Thank you.

DAVID WELSH: Thanks.

A VOICE: (Inaudible).

REP. WILLIS: Oh.

A VOICE: (Inaudible).

REP. WILLIS: No, that's all right. Okay. John Farrar.

JOHN FARRAR: Good evening, Madam Chair, Members of the Committee. Let me first introduce myself. My name is John Farrar at Quinebaug Valley Community College. I'm about to graduate with my associate's degree, and I am the ultimate representative to the student advisory council to the Connecticut Board of Regents of Higher Education.

This testimony is in regards to S.B. 840, I'm sorry, 844, AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE BUDGET RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE GOVERNOR CONCERNING HIGHER EDUCATION. My testimony reflects both the views of myself as well as those held by many of my fellow students at Quinebaug Valley Community College.

The purpose of this testimony is to share with you, the Members of the Committee, the concerns many students have with Governor Malloy's recommended cuts to higher education, specifically regarding the cuts to our state's universities and community colleges.

In the past two years, $93 million have been cut from the university state system. However, cuts in funding are not our only concern. Students are increasingly being forced to pay more as tuition continues to rise with every passing year.

Over the past five years alone, tuition has increased on an average of 4.9 percent a year for students enrolled in either a state university of a community college. This is extremely worrisome, as it comes at a time when many students are struggling to pay tuition every semester.

Prior to this semester, I was unaware of the devastating impact that cuts in state funding had on students every day on our campuses. The $93 million have been, directly affected QVCC's campuses and our students. A result of the budget cuts are that QVCC students and students across the state no longer have access to the resources they need to be successful in their college endeavors.

Many students are even faced with the harsh reality of not being able to graduate at the time they expected because a class that they needed to take to graduate was closed because of lack of funding. When students do not have the resources they need to be successful now, they cannot be asked to pay more for less in the future.

I thank you for your time and the opportunity to voice my concerns and that of many. I strongly urge you to consider the implication that Governor Malloy's proposed budget has on the 96,000 students across the state. Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you. And thank you for waiting for so long to participate.

JOHN FARRAR: Absolutely.

REP. WILLIS: Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT: Thank you, Madam Chair, and thanks for your testimony. When did you start at QVCC, if you don't mind me asking?

JOHN FARRAR: I started at QVCC about two and a half years ago. And I started part time and then matriculated fully to a full-time student.

REP. ACKERT: Excellent. And in the time that you've been there, you talked about some visible and structural differences that have changed that you have seen.

JOHN FARRAR: Absolutely.

REP. ACKERT: And you mentioned on of them, and that was obviously classes --

JOHN FARRAR: Sure.

REP. ACKERT: -- access to classes. And I think that's, you know, seems to be a system problem many times. Is there others that you can identify that you can, in terms of student services?

JOHN FARRAR: Right. Excellent question. I appreciate it. Students no longer have access to, at QV we call it a learning center, which is essentially where all our tutors used to gather to aid college students. When I first started at our Danielson campus, you would never walk by the learning center and it would not be packed, every single day of the week, all day long.

It's now been cut to about two hours a day, and that's three days a week rather than the full eight, seven that it used to be. And we have no full-time staff in our learning center anymore. It is all volunteer.

REP. ACKERT: I am saddened to hear that, truthfully, and hope that there's something that we can do to turn that around. But I want to thank you for your testimony.

JOHN FARRAR: Thank you very much, Representative.

REP. LEGEYT: Are there any other comments or questions from the –-

SENATOR BOUCHER: Thank you very much, and thank you for your testimony. I had asked the question previously to some of the other students from some of the schools that came to testify, did you give much thought, I know that you think a lot about tuition costs, but do you also talk about the additional fees that are assessed as well as the full cost of what you're paying?

JOHN FARRAR: Right. I know at Quinebaug, we had a student activities fee. That money is used directly for the student, a result of our budget cut, actually, and it has been alarming, but our SGA, which distributes the student activity fees, is hit up every single week for money that we've never had to pay before. Are we glad to pay it because it helps the students? Absolutely.

Is it our responsibility to pay it? Maybe not. We've never had to pay it in the past, but as, you know, our budget is cut year after year, that money needs to come from somewhere. And, frankly, if it means helping our students, then our SGA would be glad to pay for it, but it shouldn't have to come to that.

REP. LEGEYT: Thank you very much. Next, we, I want to ask a question. David Welsh, you had come up before with Margaret, and did you consider that the use of your time? Or otherwise you're next.

DAVID WELSH: Yes, thank you for calling me back. My colleague, Margaret Malaspina, I'm delighted to hear that there seems to be –-

REP. LEGEYT: David, you may take the hot seat if you'd like.

DAVID WELSH: No, I'm comfortable here if that's okay. We're delighted that there seems to be a pretty widespread recognition that it would not be a wise move to eliminate part-time students from the Governor's Scholarship Program. And I think the information Margaret gave you about her students really makes that case. I've looked at my students in the same situation and found that they are very similar.

And one of the things that we were both pleased to see is that so few of these students felt that they needed to look for federal student loans, which is a, the prevalence of borrowing has grown in our system, and we were concerned that eliminating part-time students from the Governor's Scholarship would only motivate more students to go into debt.

As we discussed the Governor's Scholarship among ourselves in the community college system over the past couple of weeks, we did come up with a few suggestions, which are in my testimony, which might help to find a way to reincorporate the part-time students into the program.

We would suggest that students enrolled on at least a half-time basis be allowed to receive the Governor's Scholarship that they otherwise qualify simply because for many of these students family and work commitments make part-time study the more responsible choice rather than attempting to go full time. We would suggest that the Governor's Scholarship be prorated for students who are part time.

The OHE presentation gave you award amounts suggested for full-time students. And as the federal Pell Grant program does, it could make sense to prorate those awards for students who can't enroll full time. An idea we discussed was a possibility of applying a more demanding standard of academic eligibility for the Governor's Scholarship than we have to use for student aid programs in general, which could fit in with the aim of incentivizing success and completion and directing the money toward those students who are performing better.

We agree with the idea that it would be reasonable to limit the number of years or semesters of Governor's Scholarship eligibility in a way that makes sense in terms of the student's enrollment pattern. Simply put, we could expect the full-time student to finish a degree sooner than a part-time student.

And it would be important to incorporate the part-time students who would become eligible into the institutional allocation formula, which Mr. French from the Office of Higher Education explained during his testimony. Another serious concern that we have is that under the existing state program, we've been able to use some funds to provide part-time jobs for students who have financial need.

And it not only helps the students meet their ongoing expenses as they try to get through the year, but, as Margaret mentioned, the research shows that these students who are able to work on campus tend to have a better chance of succeeding than students who don't.

And, finally, this would be important to all of our students, because as the student from Quinebaug was saying, it's, you know, what we're seeing is service is reduced on all of our campuses. There are many vital services at our campus and at others which would be severely restricted by eliminating employment under this program.

We're all familiar with what we call work study, which is a program where the federal government provides us some funds, which probably will be reduced tomorrow by the sequester and the colleges' (inaudible). And in the case of Tunxis Community College, more than half of our student employment for needy students has come from the CAPCS program.

And these are people who help keep the library running. They help keep the admissions center running. They do some tutoring. So this is a very important part of the program. And in my testimony that I presented to you, I gave some specifics which we thought might be a reasonable way to get at this. I thank you for this, and I'd be happy to answer any questions you have.

REP. LEGEYT: Thank you, David. Anyone? Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT: Thank you, David, for your testimony. The (inaudible), it sounds like they're being well used for the part-time jobs that help. It doesn't in any way mean that a student wouldn't get money though that, like somebody's not being left out because we're using the dollars for hiring somebody. I just want to make that clear.

DAVID WELSH: Well, unfortunately, they do come from the same pot, which is why one of the suggestions in my testimony is that we put what looks like a reasonable limit on it. We wouldn't want any institution to be using a larger percentage of those funds than they have in the past for employment.

And I, we came up with a system-wide average of, I believe, 11.3 percent, which is what on average colleges were using in the community college system for employment, and would suggest that it be capped at that.

REP. ACKERT: Because my concern is that somebody that would be looking to go to a, (inaudible) go to school wasn't able for, able to get the dollars –-

DAVID WELSH: Yes.

REP. ACKERT: -- because it was used for employment. So that was just a key component that I don't, I believe the hiring has a value, obviously. I mean, we just, like you mentioned, some of the students, you know, services are cut, but if you can, and I don't mean that we shouldn't have full-time employees there, I'm not saying that. It would be great if that, we could afford that.

But in these times to have somebody working there, it would be like mentioned kind of a work study, keeps them active, their care for their college actually becomes, you know, part of their daily life, not just going to school there, but that we're not replacing that dollars for earning with potential students going to school, so –-

DAVID WELSH: It's a real concern, especially as funding shrinks overall in the program.

REP. ACKERT: Thank you, again, David. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

DAVID WELSH: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Welsh.

DAVID WELSH: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Robin Konskoff, is that what, Robin? No. Joe Young. Is Joe here? There's Joe.

JOSEPH YOUNG: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Good evening.

JOSEPH YOUNG: Today, I'm here to speak in opposition of, I think it's S.B. 844. Members of the Committee and the State Legislature as a whole, all the guests that are here for today's meeting, although most of them left, but –-

A VOICE: (Inaudible).

JOSEPH YOUNG: -- and all the people that are watching around the state of Connecticut, my name is Joseph Young. I am a student at Manchester Community College and am studying political science. In four years, I hope to be in the position where one of you is today.

As of this week, I am on the college's legislative advocacy task force, and that is why I am here to testify this evening. I know that it will probably happen anyway, but I would like to speak to you about the pending cuts to the budget.

And forgive me if some of these numbers aren't right, but this is what I, three million from every college in the state. I am also very involved on the student government and very informed about the issues that affect MCC, as any student would be.

I hope to serve the students of Manchester Community College and the residents of Manchester any way I can to the best of my ability and let me tell you all the things that will be affected by this decision. Here at MCC, our athletic program, which is the best, or it's at least one of the best in the country in terms of community colleges, is now gone, because nobody signed up, and this is the last semester that they're going to have it.

MCC's academic support center will also take a hit. This will affect students like me who cannot balance time and being a full-time student and will therefore be detrimental to the state's economy as their potential will be diminished.

The disability services center will take a hit, as this will affect the wellbeing of students who just want to get along the same as all the other students but happen to be born differently, people like actually our current governor who struggled with learning disabilities himself.

These cuts across the board on 17 state institutions, along with I think it is the five percent tuition increase that might come into effect, will affect all of these institutions in a similar way. I believe that education is a gateway to society. It is in this way the greatest thing in the world, because without it, we would have no jobs, period.

In this economy, we should be investing more money into it across this great state and nation rather than other things. I understand that this must be done in this recession, but before you allow it to, think. You could be denying the next state representative to sit on this Committee. You could be denying the dreams and aspirations of the next Dan Malloy or Bill Clinton or Barack Obama or Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg or Albert Einstein.

You could be denying the opportunity for the next person possibly in this room that will change America and change the world for the better from carrying out and implementing their version of the American dream as I am sure some of you have.

Connecticut can do great things. We were the largest state per capita in the nation. We still, today, lead the country in terms of insurance and other types of innovation, particularly when it comes to aerospace manufacturing. We house hundreds of Fortune 500 major corporations that are worldwide.

I am positive that we can also lead the nation in getting a college education, and I believe that these $3 million cuts, the tuition hikes and also S.B. 40 and other things move us back from accomplishing that goal. The college students across the state, we're all in this together, and these cuts affect us all.

I just wanted this Distinguished Committee to hear what I have to say and just listen to it. It is our future that we are talking about, and only when we have a better future can the world be a better place. Thank you. Does anyone have –-

REP. LEGEYT: Thank you, Joe. Any questions from the Committee? Thank you very much, Joe.

JOSEPH YOUNG: Thank you.

REP. LEGEYT: Good luck in your future endeavors.

JOSEPH YOUNG: Thank you.

A VOICE: (Inaudible).

REP. HADDAD: Well, I don't know. I just thought I'd step in and help. Is Cathy Awwad here?

A VOICE: (Inaudible).

REP. HADDAD: Is Amy Miller here?

A VOICE: (Inaudible).

REP. HADDAD: Okay.

AMY MILLER: Good evening. Representative Willis and the Member of the Committees, thank you very much. I am, my name is Amy Miller, and I am the program and public policy director at the Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund.

CWEALF is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering women, girls, and their families to achieve equal opportunities in their personal and professional lives. For decades, we have advocated for strategies to increase access for girls and women to post-secondary opportunities that pay a living wage. Today, I am here on behalf of the Campaign for a Working Connecticut, which we coordinate.

The Campaign's mission is to promote the state's economic competitiveness through the development of sustainable, effective workforce solutions to increase workers' skills and advance families to self-sufficiency. The Campaign is a unique and diverse statewide coalition, which includes over 50 members consisting of education and training providers, workforce investment boards, advocates, unions, and chambers of commerce.

In the interest of time, I am going to try to modify my comments, because you have my full testimony. But I'm also going to try a little bit to make sure I hit a couple points from my peers' testimony that didn't, weren't able to stay. Cathy Awwad had some comments she asked me to make sure I got on the record also. The Campaign urges your support of S.B. 868, AN ACT TARGETING STATE FINANCIAL AID TO SUPPORT TECHNICAL TRAINING.

The, there is a, S.B. 868 would allow eligible individuals to receive state financial aid and apply it towards non-degree courses and/or certificate programs at community colleges, which leads to an industry recognized credential. This bill addresses a gap in the current funding available to those who are taking their first step onto career pathways.

There is a tremendous need for people with skills and knowledge which can be acquired through these programs. In a survey of Connecticut employers, 82 percent said they had difficulty finding qualified middle-skill workers in their industry with the greatest challenges in skilled professions, technicians, and skilled mechanics and other manufacturers.

Middle-skill jobs are positions that require more education or training than a high school diploma but generally less than a four-year degree. Middle-skill jobs in managerial, professional, and technical positions have replaced labor jobs as the backbone of many industries. In 2009, about 41 percent of all Connecticut jobs were classified as middle-skill, but only 37 percent of the state workers likely had the credentials to fill them.

Access to these training opportunities can assist many unemployed or underemployed individuals getting training to meet the demands of middle-skill jobs. There are some resources that go towards some of these middle-skill jobs. The workforce investment boards have leveraged federal money like the Workforce Investment Act that support these programs.

However, more is needed, because the, WIA's resources in particular are usually expended in the first six months of every fiscal year in which they get allocated, so they're used up pretty quickly, and there's a, there tends to be a waiting list.

So I did want to just quickly make a couple of points. We support the underlining concept of the bill, but we would like to suggest some changes to the language. For instance, given the governor's proposed cut to the state financial aid budget, we suggest that instead of requiring one million to be directed towards the scholarships that we instead allow for up to $500,000 per year to be used towards these certificates.

I also attached some additional language to my testimony that outlines some of our points that we'd like to make, including, you know, standards that would be set and certain tracking and outcome measures that we would we think also should be included in there.

So I'm just going to summarize by saying Connecticut's economic success ultimately will depend on our ability to produce a highly skilled workforce. We must invest in education and training, education, and skills development. We need to invest in strategies that will address beyond the K through 12 system.

Based on population tables about two-thirds of the workforce of 2020, basically seven years from now, is already in the workforce today. Without these investments, the people in our state, cities, and communities will be unable to meet the growing technological needs of their employers and the knowledge economy. Therefore, I urge you to support S.B. 868. Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you very much, Amy. Appreciate your testimony. And I assume that Cathy Awwad and Steve –-

AMY MILLER: Yeah.

REP. WILLIS: -- Bender were all going to be, I don't, they're not here, so –-

AMY MILLER: They're not here. Cathy had to make it back to Waterbury for a 6:00 meeting, and as you can see, she (inaudible).

REP. WILLIS: Drew the short straw pretty much.

AMY MILLER: (Inaudible). I actually, I almost was gone, but I turned around and came back, because I, it's really important.

REP. WILLIS: Well, thank you for doing that.

AMY MILLER: You're welcome.

REP. WILLIS: And we will certainly discuss this further with Ann, I mean, Alice Pritchard and, yeah (inaudible) –-

AMY MILLER: Alice, yep, yeah, who couldn't be here today.

REP. WILLIS: Right. Okay. Any other questions or comments from Members of the Committee? Yes, Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT: Thank you, Madam Chair. It's unusual to see somebody ask for a cut when they're in front of us. Instead of the million, drop it down to $500,000 for, per year. But some of the courses, the, just the language here is very short and sweet. And you had mentioned a certificate course. You got a quick example of –-

AMY MILLER: Phlebotomy technician, so it can be like a four-month class, and it costs around $1400, and at the end the person actually could make almost around $33,000 a year.

REP. ACKERT: So there is no opportunity for them to receive any type of support that you're aware of?

AMY MILLER: Federal money cannot be used in this manner. Like I said, the Workforce Investment Act, some of that money can be used towards that, but there's a small amount and then, like I, it gets used up pretty quickly.

REP. ACKERT: Well, thank you, Amy, and thank you, Madam Chair.

AMY MILLER: Sure.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you very much. Obviously, we need to spend some more time looking at this, which we plan to do, but I appreciate you coming before us today and hanging in there, because it is, because I really was under the impression at the Workforce Investment Board, you know, targeted, you know, had monies available for this kind of technical training. And so –-

AMY MILLER: And, you know, Cathy isn't here to answer the questions, and I can't, you know, thoroughly go into that. I do know there is some money. I couldn't tell you off the top of my head how much. We can certainly get that number for you.

But, and when other money comes up, I know like H.B. 1, they also leveraged, you know, significant resources towards that. So when it happens, they're using it, and they're using it wisely. The placement of people is usually pretty quick. And they get into the workforce pretty quickly also, which is nice and very little overhead.

REP. WILLIS: Well, it is that Workforce Investment Board monies helps provide the tuition, you know, funding for the, actually the manufacturing program that we talked about earlier today.

AMY MILLER: Yep, they do.

REP. WILLIS: So it's critically important to that. And so you're saying that's not enough, and we need to do (inaudible) more to beef it up.

AMY MILLER: Yeah.

REP. WILLIS: So thank you very much.

AMY MILLER: Thank you. Have a good night.

REP. WILLIS: Good night. With that, I will turn the page to make sure that I have, James Troup, Peter Angelastro, Cyndi Zoldy. Ah, well, I, did anyone else not get called or is here to testify? Hearing no one coming forward or see no one come forward, I close this public hearing. Thank you very much. Have a good evening, everyone.