HARTFORD – How affordable is Connecticut’s flagship public university?
The answer, it was evident at a state capitol hearing Thursday, depends on who you ask.
David Behmke, who testified at the hearing, called the University of Connecticut a tremendous value for state residents. “As much as people try and say the opposite, it is affordable,” said the freshman political science major from Bristol. “There’s no better place for me now.”
But for others, the cost of attending UConn — which topped $26,000 for in-state students living on campus in the 2012-13 academic year — remains steep.
“To have a university that ultimately many of my constituents will just have to say, ‘we can’t afford it,’ that’s a concern,” said state Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield.
Kissel and other lawmakers examined UConn’s affordability during a hearing at the Capitol on Thursday. The legislature’s program review and investigations committee recently completed a report on the affordability of the university and concluded that the school is more affordable than its peer state-funded flagships — even as college costs overall continue to climb.
“UConn falls well below the flagship median share of income needed for an in-state student,” the report states. While that’s partly due to Connecticut’s fairly high median income levels, the report also noted that UConn’s average net price – what families actually pay after grants and loans — ranked 39th among comparable flagship schools. That is the 11th lowest among the comparable schools.
Behmke and several other student leaders came to the state Capitol complex Thursday to discuss the report with members of the program review committee. Also present was university President Susan Herbst.