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Students raise concern over the possibility of increased tuition hikes

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HARTFORD -- Zack Rubin is a student at Western Connecticut State University and he knows the value of hard work.

"What really prompted me to take my education seriously was paying for myself." said Rubin.

And he's hoping that hard work doesn't get harder after a hiring freeze was announced at all 17 Connecticut State Colleges and Universities campuses and system offices.

Rubin said he is worried that this could be a signal of a possible tuition hike.

"These schools don't exist for the families who drive beamers and Bentley's," says Rubin. "These are the working class people. The blue collar workers who some of these kids are the first kids to ever go to college."

The hiring freeze enacted by CSCU president Mark Ojakian,  was in response to Governor Malloy's proposed budget calling for a projected $25 million cut to next year's CSCU budget.

"Executive government is down about 10 percent since I became governor so taking that step is highly appropriate for that university system to take," says Gov. Malloy.

Although the tuition has not been officially mentioned yet, Ojakian stated, "All options are on the table for the benefit of our students and, as our duty to the taxpayers of the state of Connecticut, we need to explore every scenario."

Wednesday's testimonials to the Connecticut General Assembly Appropriations Committee yielded responses from students who feel tuition hikes shouldn't become a reality.

"The only way they can subsidize that is through tuition," says Marie Mathieu, a student at Manchester Community College. "But a lot of students like me, and I'd say 90 percent of the student body there, can't afford it."

Former Western Connecticut State Unviersity student, Allison Vas, added "I definitely feel there are compromises that can be made in places you can look to cut, rather than taking it from students and their educations," says Vas.

Although nothing has been made official, representatives from CSCU say the hiring freeze will continue past the end of this year's fiscal year.