CHAIRMEN: Senator Bye
VICE CHAIRMEN: Senator LeBeau
REPRESENTATIVES: LeGeyt, Dillon, Haddad,
Janowski, McCrory, Rovero,
Sawyer, Sayers, Stallworth,
SENATOR BYE: Good morning. I'd like to call this public hearing to order. Good morning everybody. Representative Stallworth way down there.
REP. STALLWORTH: Yeah I love being here.
REP. WILLIS: We don't bit you can come on down.
SENATOR BYE: You know with the name Stallworth I feel like I'm the quarterback and you're the receiver getting ready to go out. Make me -- that makes me Dan Fouts I think.
Okay well good morning.
REP. WILLIS: I have no idea what you were just talking about.
SENATOR BYE: She has -- anyone with me on the Dan Fouts? This is a Higher Ed group.
A VOICE: (Inaudible)
SENATOR BYE: You were studying while I was watching football.
REP. WILLIS: That's right.
SENATOR BYE: Okay.
REP. WILLIS: Well I'd get rid of all athletic programs in colleges (inaudible).
SENATOR BYE: Representative Willis is going to have a hearing to get rid of all athletic programs in colleges she said. So you might not be here but I think it might be more crowded than outside.
A VOICE: Representative Stallworth (inaudible).
SENATOR BYE: A tough loss for our lady Huskies last night. It was too bad.
But what I'm going to do now is get started with our public hearing. I see that Secretary Barnes is in the audience and I assume you're a representative of Governor Malloy who is first on our list so I'll call you forward.
Welcome to our Committee Mr. Secretary.
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: It's a great pleasure. There are -- there are a few committees I haven't touched yet and this is -- it's nice to finally. It's a small committee I have to say, small but mighty.
Well Senator Bye, Representative Willis thank you very much for the opportunity to speak to you today. I am here to speak in support of Senate Bill 28 which is a -- An Act Implementing the Governor's Recommendations Concerning Higher Education.
This bill limits the awards under the Connecticut Independent College Student Grants know as the CICS program to private institutions with endowments under $200 million. The Governor's budget reduced funding by 3.8 million and aid would be eliminated to Fairfield University, Quinnipiac University, Trinity College, Wesleyan and Yale. Yale, as you know, has already declined grants for the biennium because of the financial -- the fiscal constraints that the state faces.
By excluding these private institutions we'd have the greatest ability to provide financial aid to their students. We believe that we are able to target the financial aid that we do provide to students in the greatest need who attend the private institutions that have the most limited ability to provide assistance.
In addition to -- to that reduction we've also proposed reallocating $1 million from the CICS program to establish and attract the best aid and loan forgiveness program for teachers. This is part of our overall K-12 initiative in which we felt it was important to provide additional financial aid and incentives to the best teachers to continue to work in -- in the schools where their assistance is needed the most.
Under that program we would provide grants of up to 500 -- $5,000 to high achieving students in teacher prep programs and then there would be loan forgiveness up -- up to $10,000 over four years for those teachers who work in priority school districts or in a school that is a member of the Commissioner's district. These are the -- the most -- the most challenged districts.
We think this is an important way to -- to target our aid similar to the minority teacher recruitment program that's already been upgraded by the -- previously by the Department of Higher Ed and Office of Higher Education so we think that it's an -- an important approach and an important way for us to target our resources at those students who we think can be part of our solutions to our problems with achievement in the K-12 level.
With respect to the overall CICS program, I would point out that we -- that this reflects a -- a -- an over -- an overarching concern that we have that because of the -- the way that the CICS program is structured and the -- and the information that we have about it, we do not feel that we have assurances that the assistance under the CICS program is -- is resulting in lower higher education costs for Connecticut students then they would otherwise achieve and -- and we -- without that assurance we -- we have a difficult time supporting the -- the -- without -- we don't have any -- we don't have any assurances that it's meeting the -- what I believe are the appropriate policy goals of the program to reduce the cost for Connecticut students.
This is because the way that the financial aid is structured we don't have any information that indicates that a -- a student of, you know, of a given family circumstance is -- is receiving $1,000 or $2,000 higher package of aid than they would have received had the CICS program been absent, especially in the -- this is especially true in the schools with large endowments.
So we -- we -- it was based on that concern that we -- we thought it was appropriate to ratchet this assistance program back. Candidly we are also facing budget constraints in general. So we would be -- I would be remiss if I didn't point to this -- this is a cut that we would prefer to have avoid -- we -- we would have preferred to have potentially restructured the program to -- to ensure that our policy goals are met and continue to fund it at its -- at its previous level but as -- this is a -- a response born of our policy concerns as well as fiscal scarcity.
One issue that has come up in this bill has to do with the -- the reports of endowment size. We obviously pay things to that. Since the Governor's bill was finalized, an on-line edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education published a more recent reporting period. Apparently Connecticut colleges' endowment did well in the -- between those two and they now would -- would meet that $200 million standard.
We are proposing that instead of that we might use self-reported information from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System which is an annual survey that -- that all the schools participate in and -- and to pick a particular day on which those -- the -- the reports would be used.
I have no problem with provi -- having that day be sufficiently early that -- that no school would be left with a reduction in their -- in this -- in their aid budget without, you know, without timing that so that it would -- they -- they could accommodate that within their -- the aid awards that they give out.
In addition we are proposing in the bill that the Office of Financial and Academic Affairs annually collect data and report on trends relating to Connecticut higher education. This was a reporting obligation of the Department of Higher Education, the predecessor agency, and we think that it's appropriate to ensure that this continuous -- that this -- this data is made available on a continuous basis.
I know OPM has long utilized this information. I believe OFA does as well as one of the -- the primary sources for information about higher education. So we would ask that that reporting requirement be reinstated for the new agency.
And lastly we have proposed closing intake into the Kirklyn Kerr program. Again this is a budgetary proposal as a -- as a lower priority program than others that we sought to fund.
I am happy to take questions about that. We've also submitted testimony on the -- the merger of CHEFA and CHESLA. I'm certain -- I'm happy to answer questions about that as well but I'll -- I'll let my written testimony stand on that.
SENATOR BYE: Thank you, Secretary Barnes.
Questions? Representative LeGeyt.
REP. LeGEYT: Thank you, Madam Chair.
Good morning, Secretary.
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: Good morning.
REP. LeGEYT: I wanted to ask you a few questions about the CICS plan as proposed in this bill. Am I correct in remembering that the CICS program suffered a reduction both last year and this coming year in the biennial budget that was put out and approved last year?
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: Yes I believe that's correct, yes. I don't have the numbers off the top of my head but there was a -- there was a -- a reduction to the CICS program in the -- in FY '12 and in FY '13.
REP. LeGEYT: Right.
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: This is (inaudible).
REP. LeGEYT: As I remember somewhat sizable from 24 million down to 18 million this past year which is 25 percent and then further reduction to 16 million for this coming year so that it would have been reduced by a third overall over the two years.
And with a further reduction of $4.8 million that's being proposed here I believe that would bring it down to barely half of what it was two years ago or, you know, prior to last year and so another 4.8 million is a huge percentage of money for Connecticut students who are trained here and want to go to college in Connecticut.
I -- I heard you say that the -- the additional decrease, 4.8 million, was out of budgetary concerns but I suppose that with the reductions that were already imbedded in the biennial budget there must have been some other constraints that forced the decision to significantly cut this budget by $5 million and I imagine it's a -- it's a choice between difficult categories.
Would you --would you care to speak about that?
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: Sure, I -- I would be happy to. Obviously I believe that the CICS program accounts -- is -- essentially becomes institutional assistance to private institutions of higher education in the state. I don't believe, because of the way that the program is -- is -- functions because of the mechanics of it, that there is a clear nexus between CICS money that we provide to the schools and lower higher education costs for students.
We've asked that that information be provided. It has never been provided on a -- on an individual student basis in a way that -- that demonstrates that -- that the funds we put in to the CICS program result in lower student costs for Connecticut families paying for their children to go to school here. There's just no, you know -- the -- the notion that a school with a very large endowment and a very active financial aid program is -- is determining the financial aid package that they would offer absent CICS and then -- and then reducing it by the amount that -- that CICS goes in.
One thing it doesn't have a beneficial impact; it certainly does. Adding more money to the financial aid pool at any school is going to have a beneficial impact. But I can't guarantee that that impact isn't going to out-of-state students to some degree and I cannot guarantee that of the -- if we put in $16 million into the CICS program that that is reducing the costs to Connecticut students by $16 million.
I -- I just don't have any assurance that that's true and, as a result of that, we -- we felt that given what we see as a -- as an uncertain policy success of the program that we -- we would put our -- we would -- we would prefer to propose dedicating those resources to other critical areas of need, in -- in particular addressing some of the long-term liabilities in the state. You know we have pension funding problems that are catastrophic in -- in nature and also we feel the -- the highest priority of the -- of the Governor in his budget is finding new resources and a whole series of reforms to bring to bear on -- on K-12 education which we think is also, you know, a critical piece of -- of our overall education landscape.
So we -- we -- we're supportive of higher education and we would like to find a way to structure an aid program for Connecticut students at private schools that we -- we were confident would -- would dedicate those tax resources to -- to that very problem and not to the overall health of the -- of -- of these institutions, some of which I would point out are much healthier than the State of Connecticut whose endowment is currently at about $1.7 billion negative.
We are -- we have a -- a significant fund deficit in the State of Connecticut which is exactly at odds with -- with the -- the endowments that are held by these institutions.
REP. LeGEYT: Well thank you for that answer. I -- the perspective that you measure $4.8 million by obviously is -- is one that, you know, makes -- makes the argument or it doesn't and laid against the total endowment of private colleges and universities in Connecticut, $4.8 million isn't much money but within the confines of that particular program it's a huge percentage and, if you're concerned about whether or not that money is going to make it easier for Connecticut grown and raised and educated students to go to Connecticut colleges, you're -- you're saying in the bill that there's going to be some data collection taking place and that's perhaps why you don't yet -- can't yet say for sure whether that money is being properly used. I can't imagine it wouldn't be.
I -- I would you know -- one argument might be to wait until the data comes in and then structure some change in the amount based on that. I -- it seems -- it seems arbitrary to pick a threshold, pick a cliff I guess your -- I -- I guess I would say to pick a cliff of $200 million for an endowment and -- and deny colleges with a greater endowment of any benefit from the CICS money.
I wouldn't expect that it would be too difficult to spread the -- spread that loss of CICS money out over the various institutions that use it. I know Yale has passed on the need for CICS money but the other colleges, I'm thinking Trinity, Fairfield, Quinnipiac, Conn College, Wesleyan, you know, a million dollars to them is significant when it comes to, you know, providing Connecticut students with a chance to go to school in Connecticut.
Was there any thought about modifying the schedule and spreading it out across the institutions that would use it rather than just picking a cliff of $200 million and denying it for any school above that?
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: Well we -- we believe that the -- the danger with the structure of the current grant where we basically provide a grant to -- to the colleges and they -- they then later assure us that they've given it out to Connecticut students and that that's -- that's the current program.
If we -- we felt that the danger that it was being used to -- the danger that its removal would a) harm Connecticut students or that -- that its use was -- was not net -- necessary in order to provide those aid -- aid packages to Connecticut students was greater at those -- students with -- the schools with large -- large institutional endowments. So we -- we did -- I mean it is -- I will freely acknowledge that we -- we set a number and it was -- it was arbitrary. $200 million is -- I mean wasn't random. We looked at the endowments of institutions and -- and there are some that are very high and $200 million seemed to capture the -- the highest of them.
We -- we certainly -- you know I -- I suppose we could take a different approach but -- but I believe that it's more critical that we preserve the ability of the schools with low endowments to continue to have active -- active scholarship programs because I think that it probably has a -- a significantly greater impact on the ability of those schools to provide financial assistance than it does in a school that has a -- a very large endowment.
So -- so we thought it was minimizing the impact on students to do it the way we did, although obviously I understand that others may seek to do something completely different.
REP. LeGEYT: Well completely different would mean perhaps reversing the plan to make that cut in the first place and I thank you for your answers sir.
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: Thank you.
SENATOR BYE: Madam Co-Chair you have a question?
REP. WILLIS: Thank you.
Thank you Mr. Secretary for coming here.
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: It's my pleasure.
REP. WILLIS: It's a pleasure to have you and we hope you'll come back again.
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: Oh many times.
REP. WILLIS: Okay. Certainly on -- on selecting the cliff, as my colleagues -- and it is an arbitrary number which you alluded to, one of the first reactions I have, and I expect the -- is market -- stock market fluctuations which can wreak havoc on an endowment. So you could have 200 at this snapshot point that you're talking about and then three months later you may not have anywhere near 200 million. So that's -- that's one comment.
The other iss -- issue I have with one of the schools that were selected and that's Wesleyan and although on paper, you know, they look -- you know they have a nice healthy endowment, not a lot but certainly nowhere near where Yale is, but they're a need-blind school. There are very few schools in the United States that are need-blind and that's an incredible thing for a university to do.
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: I don't think there are more than a dozen need-blind schools in the country.
REP. WILLIS: Right.
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: From my experience as a father of a teenager.
REP. WILLIS: Right, but Wesleyan is and I really respect that and that really benefits Connecticut students as other students but the point is they don't determine when they're accepting a student what their financial need is and that is -- I know I've spoken to some people on the Board and that is a challenge for them.
So with that, the other thing that's very -- I think something that we need to think about here and it's something I know you care deeply about and the Governor cares deeply about and that's completion, completing college in -- within four or six years. And if you're going to look at results-based accountability and you look at their graduation rates at a Wesleyan or a Trinity, they're right up there at the top well -- well over anything that our public institutions do. So that's another thing that weighs on -- on my thinking for them.
I also am aware that other states have similar programs, private institutions. So when you were saying -- questioning the benefit to out-of-state students that come here because it gives the school more operating dollars really to -- and more flexibility, not that they're -- I think it's important to distinguish they're not giving CICS money to somebody from another state directly, correct?
Do you think -- do you think they're saying that they're giving money to somebody not from Connecticut?
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: Well I think if -- if we give $1 million to a private college, and I -- just as an example, I think there's no question that they -- they turn around and give $1 million out to Connecticut students. There's no question that that is happening and on that level they are complying with -- with the -- with the intent of the program.
My concern is that how much of that -- is it -- is it a $1 million more than they would have given to those Connecticut students if the program didn't exist. Are they, in fact, holding back and offsetting institutional aid that they would have provided to Connecticut students in the absence of the CICS program?
And as you know when you fill out an FAF and you -- you know you disclose all of your income and you spend a whole three weekends going through all the 75 pages of painful disclosure that you provide to colleges and universities when your -- when your children apply, they determine a family share based on your income and then they make up for the remainder of the -- of -- of it beyond that with aids, with -- with loans and grants of various kinds.
Now I would like to think that if a Connecticut family goes out and -- and their family share at -- at a -- at a school in -- in New York is -- is $20,000 a year, that if there's a -- a Connecticut (inaudible) college, their family share should be lower under the -- under the FAF because they have CICS money available to -- to reduce the family share.
I think that the CICS money is reducing the college's contribution through aid and loans or -- or other financial assistance and not reducing the family's share and I have -- and -- and they -- this has been disputed to me in a general way by -- by advocates for the program but I have -- and -- and we have asked for -- for verification of that but that has never been forthcoming. I've never seen any information which enables me to -- to determine that and, from what I know as a consumer of the -- of the financial aid process, it doesn't seem -- I -- I don't understand how they can -- they can make these differential determinations on what the appropriate family share is based on whether they're Connecticut residents or not and yet that's what the policy would require, in my view, in order to be successful.
I actually think that I would prefer, in the long run, to develop a program of financial aid in the form of -- of much more aggressively subsidized loans to do it through loan forgiveness programs or other methods whereby the -- the aid is unquestionably going to benefit the students in -- in doing this.
If we wish to provide institutionally to colleges and universities, let's call that institutional aid to colleges and universities and -- and we can debate whether that's a good thing to put in the budget or not but now it's -- it's neither fish nor fowl. It's not clear whether it's institutional aid or aid directed at Connecticut students and it's neither one and we don't have a good sense of it.
So that's -- that's my concern about that.
REP. WILLIS: Well as a follow up, how many -- and maybe Jane can answer this -- how many states offer a similar CICS program?
A VOICE: (Inaudible).
JANE A. CIARLEGLIO: We can -- I -- off the top of my head I don't know. We could certainly take a look at that.
REP. WILLIS: More than 30 I think the number is. Does that sound right?
JANE A. CIARLEGLIO: Well what's -- what's similar? You have to under -- well you've got to look at what's similar. There's no question that there are programs for independent institutions across the state but you just have to look at how they're administered and how similar it is.
REP. WILLIS: Okay. Let's try to narrow it. What about New England - New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont. Do they have a CICS program?
JANE A. CIARLEGLIO: Well we -- well again we can take a look at that and make sure they are similar. We can do that for you.
REP. WILLIS: Okay because I guess my point is that there are other -- there are students that we are sending out-of-state that are benefitting by the same theory that -- that you are about benefitting the private institutions.
So that's just also something to keep in the back of the mind. But certainly I think their success on completion rates is something to put on the forefront of what they're doing. They're -- they're doing the job. They're taking care of our kids, educating them and they're graduating and I know that's something that we all want to see.
REP. WILLIS: Do you want to ask this question?
A VOICE: (Inaudible).
REP. WILLIS: Okay.
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: To that point I -- I would strongly support changes to the CICS program that would -- that would create additional incentives for completion. I think that that -- that would require a -- a more student-centered approach than the current program does. But I -- I actually believe that that would be a -- a great enhancement to the program to provide either aid in the form of loan forgiveness as one way that that can occur or -- or other similar programs that provide greater aid to those who complete the program I think reflects the -- the nature of -- of the state's involvement as an investment in the -- in the education of these students.
So I would strongly support anything to -- to enhance completion rates through this program.
REP. WILLIS: Just one comment on loan forgiveness because we've tackled that issue on this Committee for a number of years. It's very expensive. It's not easy to administer and it has been a challenge in doing it on a wide scale basis. I'm sure the office of whatever you are now Jane --
JANE A. CIARLEGLIO: Well we could structure it in the same way that we --
REP. WILLIS: But it's hard and it -- and you'd need more staff in order to do that so I just wanted to make the Secretary aware of how expensive it is to do loan forgiveness.
SENATOR BYE: Thank you.
I have a couple of follow-up questions.
Thank you, Secretary Barnes.
I think that anyone listening at home or in this room is getting a sense of how incredibly complicated higher ed finance is trying to get at how do we make our best investment to help more students graduate on time.
And the other thing that's complicated about Connecticut is how many private colleges we have. It's probably true in all of New England. When I went to a national conference and met legislators from Colorado they had like three private colleges in the whole state. But here it's a part of our higher ed -- our higher ed land -- landscape.
And this question may be to you, Secretary Barnes, but I think we may need our Executive Director of OFAA to -- to help as well. Jane, we got a report from you in January about the CICS program and how the dollars are being used and how -- how we allocate dollars.
After significant work by your office and the independent colleges coming to terms with what data would be avail -- available to you, you may remember, Secretary Barnes, last year we asked for additional data --
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: Yes.
SENATOR BYE: -- so we could get under some of these complicated issues and so my question is has the additional data helped and, if not, what question do we need to be asking to get at Secretary Barnes' concerns around our students' fees actually being lessened, or tuition and fees being lessened because of the CICS program?
JANE A. CIARLEGLIO: Well I think -- and -- and you lived through the process too it -- it was one year we didn't have all the colleges report but I think that Secretary Barnes' point if we can get more data that's -- that's, you know, across the board from everybody and not be deciding, you know -- it has to be -- it has -- everything has to be on the same plane. We have to answer it in the same way and everybody has -- has to answer it.
That we could certainly look at -- at gathering more data but it has to be clear that it is not a constant negotiation because, you know -- you know we almost ran out of time as it were.
SENATOR BYE: Well understanding that --
JANE A. CIARLEGLIO: Yup.
SENATOR BYE: -- let's just say we get all the data that we need, what question do we need to ask to answer Secretary Barnes' concern and -- and maybe Secretary Barnes you -- you have an idea of a question we can ask but you know we want to -- I -- I think the independent colleges are anxious to answer it in a way that is satisfactory.
JANE A. CIARLEGLIO: Well I think it does go to -- to how they -- they disburse or what their institutional aid does in-state versus out-of-state. I mean that -- that certainly would go (inaudible) to Secretary Barnes' point, does it offset -- off -- out-of-state students? And the benefit needs to go to the Connecticut resident.
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: Yeah I mean there are a number of approaches and I -- I certainly think it's helpful to work with the institutions themselves to -- to identify ways to -- to show compliance that -- that's not unduly onerous to them.
But I -- I think that it's critical, for instance, that we show -- we'd be able to have confidence that the -- the similarly situated in-state and out-of-state students assume -- the in-state students would receive CICS so they get their -- their list of -- of grants and part of their package includes $l,000 of CICS funding, that -- that we then can -- can demonstrate through a statistical analysis or through some other analysis that -- that the remaining portions of that are -- are -- have not been reduced compared to what an out-of-state student, similarly situated, was offered.
So that -- so that we can be confident that a -- you know two students who are from identical family circumstances and income and -- and other -- and other circumstances are getting into whatever school it is, private school in Connecticut, have -- have -- that the -- the CICS grant is supplemental to that.
I -- I mean we could demonstrate that. I think it's going to require some level of -- of individual student reporting which has basically not been -- not been provided by the institutions, as well as some statistical analysis that demonstrates that -- that the -- that aid packages for Connecticut students are, you know, $1,000 or whatever the individual CICS grant are -- the CICS amount higher than what you would -- what they would provide and what one would expect for similarly situated students from -- who are not Connecticut residents.
That -- and that's -- that's -- it's a little -- it's a little tricky and I understand that it may not be answered with 100 percent certainty but I'd like to see it answered with -- with a high level of certainty that we -- you know that we have a confidence in -- in a -- in a statistical analysis that shows that.
SENATOR BYE: Okay. I -- I hear that. I just want to maybe add one thing to it if -- if you're looking at that because I think a lot of what this does is reduce student loan debt which is a real problem right now. So I know that when my son received some scholarship dollars, his student loans went down. And so I think that's also an advantage to the state and to our young folks if we can reduce this.
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: I -- I absolutely agree with you. I think that I consider student loan debt to be essentially part of the -- the student or family's obligation. Individual families decide how to keep that amongst the -- amongst the people involved. But I -- I absolutely agree with you on that score.
SENATOR BYE: Okay I have -- I have one other question. I'm going to turn it to other Committee members. When you talk about the million dollars in grants to our stop -- top students who are going to be teachers, I'm wondering if those grants are available to students at our independent colleges who graduate many of our great teachers in the state.
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: Yes it's for both public and private institutions.
SENATOR BYE: Okay, so how will students know to apply for that or is it -- if it passes?
JANE A. CIARLEGLIO: We'll do it in the same way.
SENATOR BYE: So it would be administered by your office?
JANE A. CIARLEGLIO: Yes.
SENATOR BYE: Okay.
I just want to -- I don't want to take up all the questions right now. Other Committee members -- I know Senator Boucher had a question.
SENATOR BOUCHER: Thank you, Madam Chair.
And thank, Secretary Barnes, for being here today.
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: My pleasure.
SENATOR BOUCHER: I -- on the same point that you made -- by the way -- and you raised a very, very interesting point on the CICS program about whether or not that offsets student cost versus the university costs with regards to that program and -- and I'm very interested in hearing the response from -- from the independent sector on that particular point.
But my -- the question to you would be would, or does, and maybe again this probably a question for them, does having the CICS program in Connecticut actually incentivize in any way those private institutions from accepting more of the Connecticut student applicants?
And -- and that's something maybe I will ask them.
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: Yeah I -- I have no idea. I don't know the answer to that. I would certainly hope so. I think that would be a -- a good outcome of -- of the grant as it currently exists or as it might exist in the future but I don't -- I don't know the answer to that question.
SENATOR BOUCHER: And on the reverse of that could it disincentivise them if they didn't have that -- that financial -- extra little financial incentive and -- as I said that rhetorical. I'll ask them about that but I further wanted to know, since you're here and there's another Governor's bill on the agenda, and that's Bill 29 having to do with the Connecticut Health Education Facilities Authority, could you -- could you just give me a -- just a quick brief overview of the purpose for that bill and the need for it.
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: Well we -- we believe that we need to -- that they -- that we can more cost-effectively administer these two. These are quasi-public authorities which have the capacity to issue debt to support higher education in a general sense. CHESLA supports, in addition to higher education, it supports various educational and -- I mean CHEFA -- educational and -- and health facilities.
CHESLA issues bonds to support student loans. We believe that the -- that some of the -- the work that's done by those agencies with respect to issuance of debt, management of financial professionals, carrying out of -- of the -- the ongoing reporting and compliance obligations that go along with the issuance of municipal debt that they are -- that they can effectively merge those aspects of their operation and share some of the talent and capacity within those two organizations.
So we think it's a -- it makes sense. We can -- we can reduce the number of -- of independent groups that we have and -- and provide a more cost-effective service for -- for CHESLA. We are -- I mean I -- I'm -- I'm a big believer that CHESLA has a great role to play going into the future and I -- and I, you know, I know that the extent to which they can be as efficient as possible in -- in reducing costs of -- of administering programs and issuing debt that will only provide greater resources to Connecticut students at a -- at a lower price.
I, in the long run, believe that -- that CHESLA may be one of the ways that we can really provide significant relief to Connecticut students for their higher education costs through reducing the costs of borrowing and making the terms less onerous.
It seems inevitable that borrowing is going to be part of a student's -- the way that students pay for college in -- in the future, it certainly is today. So we -- we believe this is going to support them in their mission. We have no intention of -- the structure that we proposed preserves the separate identity. They -- they would be issuing bonds that -- that are separate. They wouldn't be comingling issues, for instance, but we just believe that they can manage that process using -- sharing resources in a more cost-effective way.
SENATOR BOUCHER: Thank you for the answer. In part of the bill whereas there's a new section, you have to providing and be compensated for such services on behalf of the higher education supplemental loan as appropriate for the operation and management of said authority, et cetera. Quote reimbursed for costs associated with space, equipment, supplies, employees and so on, are you going to have a -- a sort of a -- a benchmark of the percentage of costs involved in that so that it -- we can be assured that it won't raise the cost of the overhead and, in fact, do what you're hoping to accomplish.
So in other words you have a -- a certain maximum feeling of what the costs should be as a percentage of the work that they do there.
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: Well we -- I think our -- our approach was to reduce the costs from the current level and we would be happy to -- to support reporting on that to -- to this Committee because I think that that's a perfectly good question if it can save money -- how's that working.
And to -- to establish benchmarks. The benchmark that we had been discussing internally was, you know, the -- the level of -- of administrative costs today and to -- to try to reduce that.
SENATOR BOUCHER: Exactly that was my point and I appreciate the answer. Thank you very much.
REP. WILLIS: Representative Janowski.
REP. JANOWSKI: Good afternoon. Good to see you.
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: Hello.
REP. JANOWSKI: Just a quick question, a little follow-up on the -- the Connecticut higher education student loan and I'm hoping I'm saying it right, I always say it wrong, CHELSA I think it's called -- CHESLA.
Can you give me a better idea as to where the funding for that is coming from because I understood in the past that a lot of that money comes from businesses and outside sources to be able to give those loans to students? Can you just elaborate on that?
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: They -- they issue debt. They borrow money and then relend it and the cost that they -- the -- the interest costs that the students bear is sufficient to repay the -- the bonds and to support the administrative costs of the -- of the Authority.
So to the extent that we can reduce administrative costs or -- or sell bonds at a lower rate, which is market driven largely, but -- they -- then we can -- we can reduce the costs that the students will bear.
REP. JANOWSKI: And when you say you -- you sell bonds that would be to who businesses?
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: Well to whoever chooses to invest in them, private. I mean typically those types of loans are going to be largely purchased by pension funds, hedge funds, investment bankers, it's tax-exempt debt so wealthy individuals, others who have an interest.
Connecticut is a -- is -- Connecticut paper -- tax-exempt Connecticut bonds are -- are highly sought after because of the large number of -- of affluent people here in Connecticut who like the tax free income.
So it is -- it's a -- there -- there's a robust market for people buying those bonds.
REP. JANOWSKI: Okay, thank you.
SENATOR BYE: Thank you, Secretary Barnes.
Other questions from Committee members?
Okay. I -- I have one question but I'll -- I'll ask it off-line because there are a lot of people waiting today but I appreciate you coming before us today and we'll see you soon I'm sure.
SECRETARY BENJAMIN BARNES: It's my pleasure. I look forward to the next opportunity.
REP. WILLIS: Is that sincere?
SENATOR BYE: Okay next is Braden Hosch.
Good morning Mr. Hosch. How are you today?
BRADEN J. HOSCH: Good morning, Senator Bye and Representative Willis and members of the Higher Education and Employment and Advancement Committee. For the record I am Braden Hosch, director of policy and research for the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education.
I'm here today to speak on behalf of our 17 institutions and I'd like to thank you very much for the opportunity to testify today on Senate Bill 237, An Act Concerning the Sharing of Information Between the Department of Labor and Institutions of Higher Education.
The passage of this bill can revolutionize higher education in our state. I do not say this lightly nor will I claim that the only end of higher education is simply for individuals to make more money. You have an opportunity with this legislation, however, to provide students and parents, faculty members and administrators, policymakers and employers with a way to externally validate how colleges and universities, as well as their programs, prepare students to become productive citizens and leaders in our state.
Given the rising costs of higher education and the state's priority for effectively developing our economy and the careers of our citizens, this is an opportunity that should not pass us by.
Now, at present, colleges and universities gain most of their information about where their students and graduates work and how successful they are in their careers through surveys of students and alumni. These are blunt instruments at best. They are expensive to administer, response rates are low, typically under 30 percent for public institutions, and as a result, the institution -- or the -- the information has limited value for program evaluation because the number of respondents is so small that you can't draw meaningful conclusions from the results you get.
Perhaps even more importantly the survey practice limits our ability to convey to students what kinds of outcomes they might expect if they pursue a particular field of study. And we have almost no way of discussing the outcomes of those who don't follow through and finish a degree or certificate.
This bill provides a different, better and 21st century way for us to invig -- for us to integrate comprehensive, accurate information about labor market outcomes more reliably, more quickly and at a lower cost by connecting with the state agency that already has this information. Armed with information about employment prospects and wages of graduates, and even of non-graduates, prospective students will be able to make better choices about what they study, where they study, and perhaps even how hard they study.
Colleges and universities will be able to evaluate their programs more effectively, demonstrate their successes to their stakeholders and accreditors and adjust their programs when outcomes lag. And policymakers will better understand how state resources increase educational capital and how this then translates into economic capital.
To facilitate sharing of data and maintaining a single point of con --
SENATOR BYE: (Inaudible).
BRADEN J. HOSCH: Thank you. We at the -- we at the Board of Regents would prefer to have employment information routed through the Board of Regents for our institutions. We have an integrated data warehouse for our 17 colleges and universities operational now for the 12 community colleges with the addition of the four-year institutions expected to be completed by summer.
To that end it would be valuable to add the phrase quote or its governing board to the proposed legislation in each instance where the language presently mentions just an institution of higher education.
Finally, passage of this bill is urgent. While our state law has prevented Connecticut -- the Connecticut Department of Labor from sharing unit record data with colleges and universities, at least 26 other states connect employment data with higher education data. In particular, California shares labor market data with their unemploy -- from their unemployment insurance database at the unit record level with their community colleges.
Various other states have built linkages between higher education and labor data including Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington. These states are passing us by. We cannot remain competitive if we do not make strategic and effective use of existing informational resources. Now is the time to make that happen.
And I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
SENATOR BYE: My co-chair, Representative Willis.
REP. WILLIS: Thank you.
Nice to see you here today.
BRADEN J. HOSCH: Thank you.
REP. WILLIS: Thank you for your testimony. It's good to have you here and support this initiative. I do want to give credit to my co-chair who raised this particular issue here. Although I have to say this is similar to what we've been trying to get at, program review and investigation, the alignment, you know workforce and higher education. You know I've always felt that we have --we have all these silos of information and, as a policymaker, it's really hard for us to make decisions on programs or what we're supposed to be investing in.
You know do you create a new program for, you know, engineering and, you know, what's the need out there? So those are some of our challenges. I also think that the case studies that came out of the jobs bill has a nexus here too so I'm hoping with -- as all of these stars align -- align that we can start to get our handle -- get a handle on, you know, aligning our students program with the -- with the workforce needs.
And also not promising something that's not there at -- at the end of the day and that's -- you -- as we just finished talking about with -- with scholarships, we spend all this money and -- and students borrow all this money and at the end of the day there may not be a job in that field because nobody told them there was no job in that field.
So this is a good thing -- good thing and it should pass. Thank you.
SENATOR BYE: Thank you, Madam Co-Chair.
And I know Senator Boucher has a question. I have a few but I'm going to wait. You -- you go ahead.
SENATOR BOUCHER: Thank you, Madam Chair.
And thank you for your very enthusiastic testimony this morning on this. And certainly the information on this could be extremely beneficial, however, I do have one serious concern about confidentiality and how that information can be used on -- on several levels and there is a section in this bill, Section K, that has in there a statement that the Regional Workforce Development Board, nonpublic entity or institution of higher education, as appropriate, shall reimburse the administrator for all costs incurred by the administrator in making the requested information available and in conducting periodic audits of the Board on their procedures in safeguarding the information.
To your knowledge is -- are there restrictions implicit in this about how that information is used and particularly I'm thinking of how valuable this might be to say an institution of higher learning development board --
BRADEN J. HOSCH: Right.
SENATOR BOUCHER: -- checking on their alumni to see who has, you know, a certain level of income that they might want to target for fund-raising purposes or others or you name it there could be any sorts of purposes that might be out there, including by the Regent Board itself.
BRADEN J. HOSCH: And -- and I don't have the language immediately in front of me. My recollection is that the -- the purpose of this, and I think where -- where the Board of Regents was pursuing this, is for the purposes of program evaluation and consumer information. It is not, I think, anywhere in the statute authorizing an institution to be able to use it for the purposes of development.
Now were -- were language like that added certainly we would not have a problem with it because ultimately we're not interested in using it to raise money but really interested to be able to evaluate our programs.
SENATOR BOUCHER: So what I'm hearing is that your -- you would support some further language to safeguard that information so it can't be used in a retail fashion by any of the parties that get the information.
BRADEN J. HOSCH: Absolutely. I mean if safeguarding the information both in that fashion and just back at the agencies is a sacred trust and we have to make sure that we have that protected because it distracts from the -- the work at hand which is really to make things better and as -- as we are -- are caught in those little distractions we're unable to advance as a state, so --
SENATOR BYE: Thank you.
That was an excellent point, Senator Boucher, and -- and we will work to incorporate that when we meet after this meeting.
Well I should -- I'm -- I'm happy to take credit from my co-chair but I should really give you credit, Mr. Hosch, for your leadership on all things data with the Board of Regents. Clearly from your testimony your PhD is in English because you're such a good writer but --
BRADEN J. HOSCH: Ah yes.
SENATOR BYE: -- your passion is data.
BRADEN J. HOSCH: Yes, thank you.
SENATOR BYE: So I just wanted to ask a couple of questions. I think Senator Boucher covered one which is the privacy issues but you heard the prior discussion talking about how complex the higher ed landscape is in Connecticut. And as a legislature you can see with CICS and other initiatives that we do take the private institutions into account and they're a really important part of our higher ed landscape.
So with that said you talked about the state colleges, the community colleges, you know, UConn, you have a data warehouse of folks, how -- how could we capture the employment data of the independent colleges or the private colleges?
BRADEN J. HOSCH: Well the data are there in -- well for -- for individuals who work in the State of Connecticut. Their data are maintained in the unin -- unemployment insurance database by the State Department of Labor so that it is there.
The real question is how do you link it to a private college's data system in a way that privacy can be maintained. The legislation that you have essentially says it's -- it's not illegal to do that. It doesn't necessarily say that it will happen.
There are a number of initiatives in -- in place that could facilitate that data sharing. One is a state longitude -- it's a state-wide longitudinal data system grant through the -- it's through the Department of Education, although we have a sub-grant portion of it at the -- at the Board of Regents where a system could be used to pass that information and it would actually remain de-identified.
But that would need to be built. I -- I don't think this -- this bill addresses that but it makes it legally possible to happen.
SENATOR BYE: Do you think that's something we should address in this bill?
BRADEN J. HOSCH: I -- I hesitate to -- to speak for the private colleges, they're -- they're here.
SENATOR BYE: They're here so hopefully we can get some of this from them because I think one of the things my co-chair was stating is the great graduation rates that our private colleges have in comparison to other colleges and how important that is.
You know it'd be also really important for this Committee to understand next steps and workforce and who stays in Connecticut.
BRADEN J. HOSCH: Oh absolutely.
SENATOR BYE: And I think that's other data that our independent colleges have from their surveys but this would be from a independent source. And I think the biggest concern is the one that Senator Boucher raised. These inde -- you know people keeping the privacy over their data is really important to them.
So are you saying that now, we passed a bill last year about unique identifiers, that college students throughout Connecticut will have a unique identifier?
BRADEN J. HOSCH: If they came from a Connecticut public school.
SENATOR BYE: If they came -- oh excellent point if they came from a Connecticut public school. At any point in that public school data is that unique identifier linked with a social security number that could be linked with the workforce data?
BRADEN J. HOSCH: Here I will have to speak for the Department of Education and what has been reported to me is that they do not capture social security number in -- in their database. But that's really second-hand information from me. You would have to confirm that with them.
SENATOR BYE: I mean I think again there's a lot of concern around these privacy issues. I've been in meetings for hours about privacy issues --
BRADEN J. HOSCH: Right.
SENATOR BYE: -- so it's not that I don't think it's important but I do think it can be overcome and it's important for us as policymakers to understand how our investments are working. For example, there have been concerns in the higher ed community about proprietary institutions and graduation rates and are people actually getting the jobs that they're promised when they get out.
If we had that data, we could see that and -- and we could make our investments and things like CICS and other things follow along with workforce outcomes and student loan debt, for example. You know my co-chair and I, not right now, but, you know, we are interested in significant work on financial-based -- I'm not getting it --
REP. WILLIS: Performance.
SENATOR BYE: -- performance-based financial aid.
BRADEN J. HOSCH: And -- and the -- the gainful employment regulations passed by the federal -- established by the federal government last year will -- will help with some of the proprietary programs and -- and being able to monitor their successes. Having this data as a way to check that would be useful.
SENATOR BYE: Yeah that's -- I mean that's certainly how I'm feeling. I think this is a -- an incredibly good thing that you raised to our Committee who's very worried about student loan debt, graduation and then workforce that's in our title.
So this connects all the dots. We've got the unique identifier bill last year in terms of following students from high school through higher ed, this would really help us track through workforce for policy reasons, not -- not for any other reason.
So I think the -- we have to safeguard the privacy but I really appreciate you bringing this forward and we've got to catch up to those other states that are already looking at this.
Thank you very much.
BRADEN J. HOSCH: Thank you.
SENATOR BYE: Now because of the time -- oh I have -- we have one more public and -- okay -- so we're going to have time because we started late. My co-chair is fixing --
Jeffrey Asher from CHEFA. Good morning, Mr. Asher, so nice to see you.
Good afternoon, thank you for correcting me.
JEFFREY A. ASHER: Good afternoon, Senator Bye, Representative Willis and members of the Higher Education Committee. I want to thank you for the opportunity to offer testimony in support of Senate Bill Number 29, An Act Concerning the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority.
My name is Jeffrey Asher and I'm here speaking on behalf of CHEFA and its board of directors in support of this legislation. On February 23rd, last week, I had a conversation with Michael McKeeman who is chairman of the board of CHESLA and during that conversation he did give me permission to mention in my testimony that he is committed to this consolidation and that he personally supports this proposed legislation.
I understand he has also submittin -- submitted written testimony to that effect. He's out of the country on vacation and not able to attend.
The purpose of this legislation is to affect the administration consolidation of CHEFA and CHESLA. Since its inception, CHESLA has been managed by the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges through a series of management contracts. The CHESLA board management planning committee approached CHEFA over a year ago to explore the possibility of CHEFA playing a role in the future management of CHESLA.
We suggested that, in light of the outstanding bonds of both CHEFA and CHESLA and their differing missions, the best option for an efficient management and long-term stability would be an administrative consolidation that would permit CHESLA to retain its separate identity as a subsidiary of CHEFA.
We are proposing that CHESLA become a subsidiary of CHEFA. We believe that this alternative provides the most practical structure by having a quasi-public agency managed by another quasi-public agency through the subsidiary structure. We believe that this structure will enable us to operate CHEFA on a more cost-effective basis by taking care -- advantage of economies of scale through shared services.
Our hope is that cost savings will be available to reduce the cost of borrowing for college students who obtain loans through CHESLA.
In addition to its management contract with CCIC, CHESLA has one full-time and one part-time employee and hires outside contractors to perform a variety of functions including internal accounting functions, general counsel services and certain investment-related functions. We can provide these services on a more cost-effective basis by using existing CHEFA staff.
We would propose to charge CHESLA an annual administrative fee that would include these shared services and other overhead costs such as space. The important thing to keep in mind is that the bonds that are issued by CHESLA are guaranteed by the state through the issuance of a special capital reserve fund guarantee.
The student loan repayments are the primary source of funds to make the debt service payments on these bonds. It's important for the long-term viability of this program to make sure that all of the proceeds funded by the bonds are loaned to the students and that there are minimal unspent bond proceeds. We believe that our existing relationships with many of our higher education clients in the state will greatly assist us in effectively marketing this loan program at each of the colleges and universities.
In summary I endorse and recommend Committee approval of this bill and I would like to thank the Committee for the opportunity to present this testimony and I'd be happy to answer any questions.
SENATOR BYE: Thank you so much Jeff. And I really want to thank you for your service. I have watched what CHEFA has done in terms of helping our universities and also in the Child Care Fund. It's really not just getting -- helping to get the money but you always make sure that the programs have what they need to make sure the facility is successful. So it's a really great model and I'm glad you're here --
JEFFREY A. ASHER: Thank you.
SENATOR BYE: -- testifying in favor of this bill. That means a lot to me having watched you over the years that you must believe it's doable. And I think you know like any -- you're sort of like a business person that has to make decisions about what's an appropriate building or center so thank you for that.
JEFFREY ASHER: Thank you.
SENATOR BYE: Any questions? Senator LeBeau.
SENATOR LeBEAU: I'm bouncing in and out of the Commerce meeting this morning and this afternoon so thank you.
Jeffrey, again, thank you for your service. The question I have is are there any -- would there be any problems -- legal problems with current bondholders? Would -- by having a consolidation are you exposing yourself to -- to any negative possibilities through this consolidation and -- and has this been essentially legally vetted along those lines in terms of debts and debt repayments and how that might affect bondholders who have -- have bonds that are currently being held?
JEFFREY A. ASHER: The short answer is no. The long answer is --
SENATOR LeBEAU: That's fine.
JEFFREY A. ASHER: The long answer is that's what --
SENATOR LeBEAU: A lot of faith in you Jeff.
JEFFREY A. ASHER: -- the subsidiary structure will help to do that. And the way the legislation has been drafted is that the debt of CHEFA and the debt of CHESLA will be separately maintained in each entity.
SENATOR LeBEAU: Separate, okay. So you're keeping two different -- two different pots in a sense -- two different -- a loan port -- two different portfolios?
JEFFREY A. ASHER: It's two completely -- it wouldn't be intermingled at all and -- and all the data is -- is different. I mean the -- the debt that we issue through CHEFA is actually paid for -- repaid by the institutions themselves. The debt of CHESLA is a -- a contingent liability of the state and CHESLA itself is obligated on that debt.
SENATOR LeBEAU: But it sounds like the approach would work and it's -- it's interesting because I said I mentioned I -- I came from Commerce but we had the -- we're doing consolidation with CI and CDA and it's a -- it's a similar issue that I'm concerned about. And it -- it seem -- if it can work over there with a -- a lot more debt and a lot more bonds, I think it can work over here.
JEFFREY A. ASHER: Yeah I haven't read the legislation for CI and CDA but I -- I'm assuming that that is more --
SENATOR LeBEAU: It's a similar approach.
JEFFREY A. ASHER: Is it going to be a subsidiary approach?
SENATOR LeBEAU: Yes. Yeah, okay. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
SENATOR BYE: Senator Boucher.
SENATOR BOUCHER: Thank you, Madam Chair.
And thank you for your testimony. A question for you that I had posed earlier to Secretary Barnes is that would you support if we were to add some language about reporting back on -- to the cost-effectiveness of that particular consolidation after you've had a chance to -- to pull it all together? I mean it certainly makes sense if you can reduce the administrative overhead. There should be some cost benefit from doing so as well as administrative efficiencies that you can achieve.
JEFFREY A. ASHER: Yeah the only thing I wouldn't want to be shackled by is any kind of specific requirement. I think that our intent -- and I'll use two examples, the -- the general counsel work right now, CHESLA contracts with a law firm to provide those services on an annual basis.
I have a general counsel who is employed by me and we really don't know what the level of services would be and what they would require but certainly all that stuff would be presented -- provided for in-house.
Our intent is to structure the fee that CHESLA is charged for our administration of it to reflect some savings. So we would be more than happy to report back what we potentially achieve in comparison to what it costs previously rather than setting any specific threshold.
SENATOR BOUCHER: That's precisely my point in that they would have had to have had that oversight previously, that legal assistance or advisory services previously, so if you're using internal, it-- it's easy to compare their external costs and -- and certainly compare apples to apples.
JEFFREY A. ASHER: Yes.
SENATOR BOUCHER: Thank you.
SENATOR BYE: Thank you, Senator Boucher.
Sure. Two quick questions and it's to help my understanding of CHESLA. Does CHESLA do any of the work when it comes to managing loan forgiveness for the State of Connecticut?
JEFFREY A. ASHER: You mean for the individual people?
SENATOR BYE: For the individual borrowers or is that all at the higher ed? And maybe you don't know because you're CHEFA.
JEFFREY A. ASHER: No. I guess the issue is that again the source of repayment for the loans are the students' tuition payments -- I'm sorry the source of repayment for the bonds and there are certain circumstances based on the current interest rate on the bonds versus how they are actually -- initially priced if there was a savings on that. I do know that there have been -- there has been some ability to forgive some of the loans.
It -- it all depends on the interest rate structure, the amount of money available as the loan repayments come in. It's -- it's fairly complicated and I honestly don't know all the intricate details but I -- I think that there is potential for the future to perhaps -- and Secretary Barnes may be responding to one of the questions -- whether there's an opportunity to look at different kinds of loan programs.
But I think we also need to keep in the back of our mind that all the debt that is issued by CHESLA the state has a contingent liability on. So we need to make sure that these bonds are repaid through the student loans and, if not, then the legis -- the state would have to step up and pay.
SENATOR BYE: Okay, thank you. I -- I think we're going to have some interest in loan forgiveness. It sounds like the administration is interested in that so we'll probably be seeing more of you.
JEFFREY A. ASHER: Okay.
SENATOR BYE: And one more question from me and then my -- my co-chair has a question. Another -- in another part of the bill we have other agencies such as UConn looking for the ability to use CHEFA to bond for projects. Are you aware of that and do you think you'll have the capacity to oversee additional projects such as projects for the University of Connecticut?
JEFFREY A. ASHER: To the extent that any part of this bill does gives us statutory authority to do financing. We had statutory authority to do financing a number of years ago on behalf of the University of Connecticut utilizing the same structure that we currently do for the Connecticut State University System, now -- now through the Board of Regents.
We certainly have the capacity and the ability to -- to work in various types of financing and, you know, certainly depending on what the University of Connecticut is looking to do right now, they still issue all their debt directly themselves for the University and for the Health Center. We do have some statutory authority to finance office buildings and parking garages.
SENATOR BYE: Okay, thank you, and my co-chair, Representative Willis, has a question.
REP. WILLIS: This -- this may have been -- been answered but -- will you, under this new entity with CHESLA being part of CHEFA that's being proposed, do you go out and basically shop lending institutions to get a lower rate, no?
JEFFREY A. ASHER: No what -- what happens is that CHESLA will put together a bond issue and they're going to issue bonds in the public market. CHESLA conducts an RFP to select an investment banker to represent them in the sale. These bonds are sold in the tax-exempt municipal market and they're sold to any investor. So anyone that has the ability to invest in tax-exempt bonds buys the debt and the proceeds of that bond issue is what's deposited in the loan fund to be used to finance the loans to the students.
So the rating on these bonds is tied to the state's rating based on special capital reserve fund guarantee. To the extent we can go into the market at a time when the state's rating and the market is favorable and we can go out there and do a public offering that has an interest rate of let's say four percent or five percent, that impacts on the amount that CHESLA would be able to charge or needs to charge the students in order to repay the bond.
So if the market says okay we can sell this bond issue at four percent, we're not going to want to go out and -- and charge the student six percent because that extra money would only end up getting paid back to the federal government as -- it's a complicated term in terminology called arbitrage rebate. But that essentially means that you're earning income at a rate higher than what you got for the tax-exempt debt and tax-exempt bonds does not allow that to happen -- the IRS regulation.
So the student's interest rate is either directly or indirectly tied to the interest rate on the bonds.
REP. WILLIS: So this is a much different way of funding that was CHESLAR -- CHESLA previously operating under, yes?
JEFFREY A. ASHER: No, CHESLA has always issued bonds to fund the student loans.
REP. WILLIS: Okay. But when those student loan -- when -- when the student pays back the loan they're paying back CHESLA?
JEFFREY A. ASHER: They are paying back CHESLA and the money that they pay back is used to deposit and retire those bonds as they become due.
REP. WILLIS: Okay, thank you.
SENATOR BYE: Thank you, Representative Willis.
It is -- it is a complicated formula but it sounds very much like what happens with CHEFA so I can see why the consolidation makes sense to you.
Okay, thank you very much, Mr. Asher.
And I have a couple of announcements.
JEFFREY A. ASHER: Thank you.
SENATOR BYE: Representative Candelaria is working but he will be here soon. Representative Giegler has a family emergency and is out of town this week and Representative Coutu is away performing his military service.
And so next on the list is Stephen Adair.
A VOICE: (Inaudible).
SENATOR BYE: Thank you.
Your -- Stephen can you put your mic on please.
STEPHEN ADAIR: Okay. Thank you Senator Bye, Representative Willis and members of the Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on S.B. 42, An Act Concerning the Selection Process for Members of the Faculty Advisory Committee to the Board of Regents.
SENATOR BYE: Steve I'm going to interrupt you one more time. Just because your mic wasn't on will you identify yourself again for the record?
STEPHEN ADAIR: Yup -- yup. I'm -- my name is Stephen Adair, professor of sociology and chair of the sociology department at CCSU. Last fall I was also elected to the Faculty Advisory Committee for the Board of Regents and have been nominated for chair of that -- of that committee.
First -- first before -- I guess -- testimony -- I just want to thank this Committee for having the foresight of creating the Faculty Advisory Committee. As you all know when we had the system faculty did not have the same kind of access to the -- to the Board as -- as is now. And in -- in that capacity I do hope and expect and intend that we can make meaningful contributions in all matters but especially in the particular issue that has come on to us which is the new articulation policy and transfer policy.
But I have -- I have two suggestions regarding S.B. 42. First I support revising the original language that established the FAC to make the selection process uniform across the three systems. This year each university and CSU elected one representative through a faculty-wide vote organized through the faculty senates.
One of the four representatives was identified by a random process to serve as an alternate which will rotate each year. This year the representative at -- from Western is the alternate. I will be the alternate next year.
In contrast the community colleges ran a election process for their three representatives through each faculty bargaining unit and elected one representative and two alternatives for each of the three seats.
While the Faculty Advisory Committee is constituted according to the legislation with three voting members each from CSU and the community technical college and one from Charter Oak, at the first meeting there was an imbalance of representation at the table as the community of colleges had six alternatives and CSU had one.
Having four elected members with a rotating alternate works well for CSU. I recognize that such a configuration would be more challenging for the community colleges. I've heard a number of different suggestions. One that CSU increase the number of alternates or even that there be a committee of 25, one elected from each of the community colleges, three from each CSU university and one from Charter Oak.
While I support the current size of the committee, the more important issue is that the selection process be uniform.
And second in -- in our first and only meeting this -- last month, the Faculty Advisory Committee agreed to operate with co-chairs, one from CSU and one from comm -- the community colleges. The legislation requires us to name a chair and a vice-chair which we intend to identify at our next meeting on March 2nd but would recommend that S.B. 42 be changed to identify co-chairs rather than rotating between chair and vice-chair.
So I thank you for the opportunity to testify.
SENATOR BYE: Those are very pragmatic suggestions and -- and if you have other ideas about how it could be uniform -- thank you for the suggestions that you gave -- appreciate that. And -- and we are happy that there is a faculty representative process, if you will, in the Board of Regents. And that was something that was important to this Committee last year.
I have a question for you which isn't on your testimony because -- and -- and I think we'll hear more testimony about it today but because I have a teaching faculty member in front of me I'll ask now.
There -- there has been some concern that the way that the legislation is drafted limits it to teaching faculty and there are also administrative faculty on various campuses. I'm -- I'm not exactly sure how it's structured. I'm sure by the end of this hearing I will know very well how it's structured.
But my question to you as a teaching faculty is do you think it should be opened up to both administrative and teaching faculty? And I'll -- I'll give you a little caveat, a little bit of my thinking, before you answer.
Having worked in universities, there are two very different pieces of most universities. I -- I've worked at a private college where you have the administrative folks on one side and the faculty senate on another side and they're two very different worlds. Now it may not be that way but, you know, I think our intent was to represent teaching faculty but I -- there have been some important questions raised about why not administrative faculty as well.
So if you want to answer that loaded question, you know --
STEPHEN ADAIR: It's -- it's a loaded question and it -- and it's -- it's complicated I think also by virtue of the position that I'm in given the ways under which people got elected through the community colleges and feel obliged both to be representative of -- of CSU as well as, in some ways, speaking for the Faculty Advisory Committee.
At the same time that the elections that took place at CSU were from the teaching faculty as opposed to -- and I -- I really don't want to speak to the election process that took place in the community colleges but it was sort of quite different process by the ways under which that happened, the committee is relatively -- is not relatively small -- it is small listed as -- as seven voting members on that committee.
I think that most of the concerns or the issues that this Committee is expected to address will be matters related to curriculum but I think that the teaching faculty are more able address.
I also think that the administrative faculty are under different kinds of administrative lines and -- and subject to different types of oversight than is true of the teaching faculty which makes their responsibility and their role somewhat different.
I have no objection if this Committee decides to include teaching faculty on the committee though if you were to do so I would appreciate the -- I would most like to see it simply adder -- added on to the existing size of the committee and that have the election process take place separately so that administrative and teaching faculty do not get on that committee through the same election process.
So for instance if you want to add one administrative faculty or non-teaching faculty per unit, sort of increasing us from seven to nine, seems like a -- a compromise.
SENATOR BYE: Actually that's very helpful and you did that very well. Thank you.
Other questions from Committee members? Representative Sawyer.
REP. SAWYER: Thank you for testifying today and my question is similar to Senator Bye's but in my experience we have others in the university, and by others I mean say the librarian, the head librarian for the university, there's always been a debate whether they are faculty or whether they are staff.
And they run usually a very large institution within the university. Sometimes they teach but oftentimes not because they end up being other because they have to administer that. And then I also -- now I'm thinking of the university as well. We have campus police which are an entity unto themselves, they're here today for another reason, and we have say the head of food service. And I don't necessarily think of them as administration.
Do you have thoughts on those individuals and how they might participate if they so decided that -- because they're certainly are integral part of the university making them run and tick? Do you thoughts on that?
STEPHEN ADAIR: I wasn't expecting that question. And I think -- and I think that library is -- is a little bit different in the sense that many of the people in the library may be classified as faculty or may be classified as non-teaching faculty but there are certainly other staff positions that are there as well.
It -- it does seem to me that the mission of the Faculty Advisory Committee would be sort of specifically related to sort of educational issues and it seems to me that having representatives on there from campus police or students -- or -- not student services but -- well student services but -- or food services would -- would drastically change the sort of focus and ability to be able to generate sort of significant contributions out of the Faculty Advisory Committee.
REP. SAWYER: If we looked at your description of non-teaching faculty, not administration but non-teaching faculty, so you're saying that you don't think that they would add a depth to this (inaudible).
STEPHEN ADAIR: No -- no not -- no -- I -- there -- the prospective non-teaching faculty I think is -- they're situated differently in terms of how it is that they report to administrators, for instance, the ways under which their, you know, their role as practitioners and professionals is structured differently I think than the teaching faculty.
Many I think have unique perspectives on things. I mean in thinking of the sort of current issues there are people that are in -- doing articulation agreements. There are people who do academic counseling. There are different kinds of advisors, right. I mean the -- those people may, in fact, offer interesting contributions.
REP. SAWYER: Let -- let me ask you a question then. Maybe it's my misinterpretation but on line 4 it says that there shall be a faculty advisory board for the Board of Regents of Higher Education to assist and perform -- the board performing its statutory functions.
And in this case we're talking about teaching faculty would be the change into the language that the members would be teaching faculty. So you don't think that some of these non-teaching faculty members fit into this advisory board? Do you see this advisory board only as teaching faculty?
STEPHEN ADAIR: I -- I would have no objection if the Committee elected to keep it only as teaching faculty. If the Committee --
REP. SAWYER: Oh politically correct, hold on.
STEPHEN ADAIR: -- if the Committee wanted to include teaching faculty then I would suggest that you make that a separate item to be included. So for instance if -- if there are to be three teaching faculties say from the community colleges and three from CSU, then the -- the legislation would need to be I would suggest specifically changed to include say one person among the teaching faculty and one person for -- from CSU and one from the community colleges.
REP. SAWYER: From non-teaching faculty?
STEPHEN ADAIR: Yes.
REP. SAWYER: Thank you for your thoughts.
SENATOR BYE: Thank you, Dr. Adair. I'm sure you weren't expecting this many questions but we really appreciate your -- your perspective and I think that the reason we added this Faculty Advisory Committee is that when we talk to folks on campuses they said presidents come and go, you know, a lot of people come and go but we're here for many, many years for the most part and we have a lot to add and we have an important perspective.
And I think we can hear from the answers to the questions how complicated the landscape is on -- on campuses.
So thank you for your testimony and feel free to contact us if you have other thoughts because we hit you with a bunch of questions that are -- you'll keep processing probably. So thank you very much.
STEPHEN ADAIR: Thank you.
SENATOR BYE: Next is Father Jeffrey Von Arx, am I saying that -- from Fairfield University.
Good morning, Father.
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: Good morning, Senator, how are you?
SENATOR BYE: Excellent. How are you?
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: Good, good. Good afternoon everyone. Senator Bye, Representative Willis nice to see you again, members of the Committee. Again I'm Father Jeff von Arx. I'm the president of Fairfield University and also the current chair of the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges and I'm joined by Ms. Judith Dobai who is our vice president for enrollment management at Fairfield and probably in a position to answer some of your questions better than I can.
I'm here to testify on behalf of our sector against Section 2 of S.B. 28, An Act Implementing the Governor's Recommendations Concerning Higher Education. This section exempts students attending institutions with more than 200 million in endowment assets from the Connecticut Independent College Student Grant Program. That would be Yale University, Wesleyan University, Connecticut College, Trinity College, Quinnipiac University and Fairfield University.
These six schools received approximately 4.8 million in CICS funding for this year. All of this money went to needy Connecticut students who excelled academically, allowing them to be admitted to some of the country's finest colleges and universities that happen to be located in the State of Connecticut.
This money leveraged substantial amounts of institutional aid. In this fiscal year alone the five that received the CICS allocation gave $32,600,000 in institutional aid to Connecticut undergraduates.
We believe that the CICS program helps needy Connecticut students attend the academic setting that is right for them and it helps to ensure that Connecticut's workforce is prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow and that it is a direct extension of the needed educational reform that is currently underway in the state.
The chart -- the attached charts that we've provided to you provide insight into graduation rates, industry cluster degrees in our sector and minority enrollment. Connecticut is fortunate to have such a robust independent college sector. It cannot meet all student and employer needs through its public sector and should be increasing rather than decreasing the relatively small amount of financial aid that goes to students at independent institutions.
At Fairfield University, for example, all 272 Connecticut residents who receive the grant would lose it under the proposal that is part of the Governor's bill. Most of them are from Bridgeport, New Haven and Waterbury. Forty-two percent are under-represented minorities and 53 percent are the first generation in their families to go to college.
We provide the financial backing necessary to help 595 Pell Grant recipients to enroll, 45 percent of whom are Connecticut residents. We cannot have our collective effort to eradicate the achievement gap in K through 12 education, certainly a laudable goal, become then subsequently a financial gap in higher education.
I must also note that last year we graduated 80 students in engineering, bioscience and technology areas at Fairfield. Sixty-three percent of these technology graduates were from Connecticut. Over half of our alumni live and work in the state. They are Connecticut's teachers, engineers, software developers and scientists and they are vital to the state's economic success.
Our endowment spend is already at its prudent limits and the bulk of the money we are allowed to spend already goes into financial aid. We've made substantial cuts to many areas of our budget in an attempt to continue to fund the significant amounts of aid that our students now need. Cutting Fairfield out of the CICS program will hurt needy Connecticut students.
Independent colleges and universities are key participants in Connecticut's economic resurgence. We are market-driven and we are able to respond quickly to workforce needs while ensuring that our graduates are prepared to participate fully in our communities and in our state's economy.
Why not continue to fund a program that economically and effectively graduates such a large proportion of Connecticut's workforce? So we ask you on behalf of our sector to please oppose this bill and to maintain CICS at this year's funding level.
Thank you for your time and attention.
SENATOR BYE: Thank you for your testimony.
I -- I have a -- a question and I -- probably you're going to turn to your vice president of enrollment management. And I want to thank you for the service at Fairfield. In fact I know many -- I have a daughter who's a senior in high school now and many of her friends are waiting anxiously to hear if they're going to get into Fairfield which is very competitive.
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: Thank you.
SENATOR BYE: And they're great kids. So I hope -- hope you take a lot of them. But the question I have is, you know, to go at Secretary Barnes' questions -- I don't know if you were in the room when he was saying --
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: I believe Ms. Dobai was. I -- I -- arrived during his testimony.
SENATOR BYE: Okay so -- so you heard his testimony that -- his question is is CICS really reducing what students pay? Are reducing their debt when they graduate? How -- how can we know that?
JUDITH DOBAI: Thank you, Senator Bye. I will try to address that question. I think that what's so essential to understand is that this is -- this is essentially a partnership, Fairfield University or other independent colleges -- colleagues. We really partner with the state to ensure that high need students can enroll at our institution. It's very clear that we, as an individual institution, could not support this level of financial assistance to our needy Connecticut residents without help from the State of Connecticut.
It -- it just would not be possible. We are not in a position to absorb this additional -- and in the case of Fairfield University it's a $1.4 million reduction that we would be facing this July 1st. We are not able to absorb that. It's clear that this is, in fact, would impact directly the individual students who are the recipients of those awards.
The reality is the University -- Fairfield University, you know, it's -- it's not possible for us to keep up at this point with the level and the demand of -- for financial assistance from students who really need our help to be able to -- to have a college education and be able to become the productive citizens of the State of Connecticut that they, of course, have plenty of goals, professionally and personally, that they want to be able to contribute and they wouldn't be able to do it without the kind of assistance that we're providing.
To give you a sense if I could expand on the answer to your question, the University does dedicated a significant amount of its endowment to financial aid assistance but that dollar amount of -- of earnings from the endowment that can support financial assistance for students produces about $4 million a year and we spend $50 million a year on financial aid.
So there's no way that endowment alone will ever support the kind of commitment that we're making. And we do that in partnership with the state but it's essential that the state retains its part of it.
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: I might simply add of course that -- that almost all of us in this sector have applicants that come from all over the -- all over the region. Certainly the CICS grant is able to incentivize us to accept students from the State of Connecticut.
SENATOR BYE: Those answers are really, really helpful so thank you.
Other Committee members? Representative Dillon.
REP. DILLON: Yes good -- I'm looking to see what time it is -- good afternoon, Father. I spoke to you earlier and as you know I -- I didn't want to be personal but you know my -- my uncle, Father Tom McGrath, was the founder of the psych department there --
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: That's right.
REP. DILLON: -- and my sister was a trustee and my goddaughter is a sophomore. So I'm trying to separate all of that from my role as a legislator but even if I just look at it as a legislator, there's a pipeline in New Haven between Hillhouse High School and Fairfield, partly through the efforts of one of my neighbors, Jack Paulishen, who has very aggressively brought some of the kids from one of the -- some of the more marginal neighborhoods in -- in New Haven but also in my district and they're now at Fairfield.
In fact my campaign manager, Darrell, was my cam -- was a graduate -- a recent graduate of Fairfield. I can name right now, without embarrassing anybody so I won't, the kids from New Haven who are scholarship students on CICS supplemented with -- by packages that your people put together who are there and they wouldn't have been there.
They would have -- and I don't know how they would have put it together. They had the support of a teacher who believed that they had a shot at it and who was very dedicated to the University because he went there.
But -- but they also had the advantage of the state. And -- and so I don't even need to think about any family ties. I can just look at the people who really hired me to come here and there are people who are there at Fairfield because of what we're doing here. So I'm really glad you're here.
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: Thank you very much, Representative Dillon. We -- we have a number of community partnership schools which are typically inner-city schools with students obviously from a low income background and Fairfield University is committed to providing full tuition scholarships to those students. Certainly Hillhouse is one of those schools. You may be also aware of the fact that we're committed to a Bridgeport scholarship as well. Any student at any Bridgeport public or Catholic high school who is admitted to Fairfield University whose family income is below $50,000 attends on a full scholarship.
And of course that effort is greatly assisted by the fact that all of those kids obviously are kids who are receiving CICS grants as well. So that's an example of the kind of partnership that enables us to bring students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, students from under-represented minorities to a school like Fairfield.
REP. WILLIS: Thank you very much. We've lost my co-chair who was chairing.
There's a question over here, Senator Boucher.
SENATOR BOUCHER: Thank you, Madam Chair.
And thank you both for being here today. There were some -- and you -- I know you were here for most of the previous testimony and some of the comments made by Secretary Barnes involved his concern that he wasn't clear that these particular CICS scholarships were going to reduce the cost of the parent's portion -- or the student's portion but in fact really defraying the -- the cost for the University's portion of that particular student's education.
Do you have an answer to that? You already answered the question of that this would directly because that was one of my other questions was does this impact your admitting more Connecticut students and you said clearly it would and you also answered a question that I hadn't asked but anticipated and that is how does the endowment issue that clouds this by putting that $200 million limit on it, does that just assume then you have a great deal more funds to be able to disburse versus the real use of -- of endowment funds and their return for the market.
But going back to that number one question mark that Secretary Barnes put on, is this really helping -- in essence it -- it was almost saying is this really helping the university or is helping the family or the student.
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: Sure. I'll -- I'll begin a -- an answer to that question, Senator, and then turn it over to my colleague. Certainly I would say that almost any kid who's receiving a CICS grant is also getting a very substantial University grant in aid.
And so we're -- we're putting our money in -- in -- into this game as well in a very, very significant way. So it's not as if, you know, we're not stepping up to the plate in a very substantial way to enable the attendance of kids from these kinds of -- of backgrounds at our institutions.
Again we view it as a partnership with the state. The state aid helps. It makes possible accepting more needy Connecticut students at our institutions than we would otherwise be able to do and that's probably something to -- to try and keep in mind.
Judy do you want to respond to --?
JUDITH DOBAI: Sure I can -- I can add to the -- to the answer from Father von Arx, certainly. You know I think one of the challenges that Secretary Barnes alluded to is the administration of the programs and -- and certainly the process is different at each of our institutions.
But I think what -- what seems to be a mystery is really just process and I think that's -- that's one of the challenges that we face in -- in I think developing a -- a strong partnership and making sure that we can all administer this in ways that we all know that the dollars are being used effectively.
In terms of the way it's actually administered, keep in mind that I'm offering to incoming freshman students financial aid awards as early as January or February, well before I'll know exactly what the dollars are coming from the State of Connecticut for any given year.
So I have to make an assumption about how much money will potentially be available for my Connecticut residents and offer, using University funds, up front, to say we will make sure that you have this covered.
Obviously once we know how much the state is going to be able provide, we can then say this amount of the money for this individual student is coming from the State of Connecticut. But in large part this is a timing question more than a -- a misuse of funds or -- or any other situation like that.
SENATOR BOUCHER: Could you anecdotally give me a -- a percentage of what you think would be an overall scholarship or grant that a student would get? What percentage of the CICS grant might represent versus the college -- your college percentage versus the national Pell Grant program?
JUDITH DOBAI: Sure. In terms of our national (inaudible) let me outline. We have 595 students at the University who are Pell Grant recipients, as Father von Arx mentioned earlier about 45 percent of those students are Connecticut residents.
Pell Grants can range from a couple of hundred dollars to a maximum of $4,500. Our CICS recipients are often Pell Grant recipients as well. They tend to be fairly needy students. And our -- at Fairfield University our average CICS grant is $5,181. So we're talking a significant amount of money. Our average University grant to those same CICS recipients is $22,000. So this is a significant reduction in their potential aid if we were to lose this funding.
SENATOR BOUCHER: It sound though like it's four to one. The University contributes four times what are the other grant programs so it's a significant portion. I was particularly struck when you told me that the University spends $50 million in scholarships.
JUDITH DOBAI: We do.
SENATOR BOUCHER: So you can see that by the percentage of that grant how four times or greater is the University. That's very compelling testimony and it's something that you should be I think stressing. I -- I would imagine that your other universities have a similar scenarios, maybe not, but certainly your program sounds very generous and well thought out. Thank you.
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: It would certainly be the case that our -- our colleagues in the sector are doing pretty much the same thing, Senator.
SENATOR BOUCHER: May I just ask one further question?
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: Sure.
SENATOR BOUCHER: Does this impinge on your ability to retain the principal of your endowment when your -- or is this based on the various other sources? You're not just based on -- on your returns from your endowment to be able do this then I assume.
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: Sure, financial aid typically comes from the endowment but it also comes from the operating budget itself, so --
SENATOR BYE: Thank you, Senator Boucher.
Next is Representative Rovero. Microphone please.
REP. ROVERO: I'm sorry. I have a quick question and it's wondering if there should be any cutoff at all. Could you tell me the amount of Fairfield's endowment assets?
JUDITH DOBAI: Sure.
REP. ROVERO: And what the amount of Yale's endowment assets are. I'm just trying to determine if there should be any cutoff at all.
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: We -- we know our own.
JUDITH DOBAI: And I do know Yale's. We are at $254 million at Fairfield University and Yale is 1.6 billion.
REP. ROVERO: 1.6 billion?
JUDITH DOBAI: Um hum.
REP. ROVERO: Thank you very much. It's -- I just -- you know sometimes you wonder when do you cut off with the budget being as limited as it is. You wonder when you do cut off amounts that go to education and we have are local schools, our high schools and so forth all fighting for their dollars and -- and when you talk about a $1.6 billion endowment you wonder if they really need any money from the Connecticut taxpayers to support them.
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: But we -- we had -- we had just stated that. The Yale endowment is $16 billion.
A VOICE: Excuse me.
REP. ROVERO: Sixteen billion.
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: $16 billion.
SENATOR BYE: Thank -- thank you for that correction.
A VOICE: Thank you.
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: But I believe it is also the case, Judy please correct me if I'm wrong, that -- that Yale often declines to accept the CICS grants.
A VOICE: (Inaudible).
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: For the last two years Yale has not accepted CICS money, Representative.
REP. ROVERO: Okay, thank you very much.
SENATOR BYE: Next is Representative Sawyer. Okay, Representative Willis.
REP. WILLIS: Could you speak to -- well I have a couple of questions, one tuition. How much does it cost to go to Fairfield?
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: Thirty-seven thousand dollars is the tuition, Representative. Thirty-seven thousand dollars is our tuition.
REP. WILLIS: Okay, and room and board?
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: It depends on the package but 12,000 more or less -- differential charges.
REP. WILLIS: You think -- one of the things we haven't talked about, and it may be in some of the materials, but if we could have the tuitions from all the members so we could see what the tuition is and also since we look at tuition increases if you could show us the rates of your tuition increases --
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: Certainly.
REP. WILLIS: -- of all your member institutions so we can see what we're dealing with. I also want to -- obviously many of us on this Committee have a -- a little different take on CICS than -- than the administration does. But at the same time we need to be cognizant of where they're coming from and be able to address their concerns.
If you had two students of comparable -- so the financ -- the family's financial contribution was the same and one student was from Connecticut and one student was from New Hampshire, would the Connecticut student pay $5,000 less? Could you show us that anecdotally? I mean could you show us that what -- pull out of the hat a student -- you know no identifier but show us two students, same amount, parent contribution, what New Hampshire person pays, what a Connecticut person pays.
Because I think that's basically what -- where -- is -- is that fair to say that's the crux of the argument from Secretary?
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: I'll -- I'll give you --
REP. WILLIS: So we'll need to see that so we can arm. But one would expect that, you know, assuming that they don't have a CICS program, which I would assume would go with them, but if -- is -- does that come right off the top because that's what he's saying?
JUDITH DOBAI: Just keep in mind that not all of our Connecticut residents receive CICS funding. We do have Connecticut residents who are not receiving CICS because we -- we do focus it on our most needy students. But it's clear that we have Connecticut residents who are receiving more financial assistance than students from other states.
I don't believe that we would see a one for one relationship to that $5,000 and so we'd need to provide that information to you but -- but certainly our Connecticut residents are receiving significant resources.
REP. WILLIS: Tuition would be less. It's almost like a in-state tuition reduction.
JUDITH DOBAI: Without formally because of course many Connecticut residents --
REP. WILLIS: Right.
JUDITH DOBAI: -- don't receive that discount.
REP. WILLIS: Right. Well if we're talking about somebody in CICS. Thank you.
SENATOR BYE: Thank you.
REP. LeGEYT: Thank you, Madam Chair.
Good afternoon. I'd -- I'd like you -- I'd first like to say that I -- I have significant concerns about the bill and what it is going to do to reduce the availability of CICS funding for independent colleges in Connecticut.
That being said however I have a question about one of the statements in your testimony and it's in the second paragraph. The particular sentence says this money, meaning the 4.8 million, leveraged substantial amounts of institutional aid. And I'm referring back to comments that Secretary Barnes made, and that I believe Chairman Willis referred to just now, that Secretary Barnes indicated and I took -- I took his comments to mean that the CICS funding had the benefit of deferring other money that would normally be spent for Connecticut students financial aid deferring it so that it could be used for other out-of-state students and that he didn't -- he didn't care to see the money used that way by allowing colleges to provide money elsewhere
And I -- I don't know how you would document that if it's even -- if it even has an analytical base to it but the symptoms here, you know, in one reading tends to make me think that maybe that's happening. So I -- I'd like you to have a chance to respond.
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: Sure I'll -- I'll begin (inaudible).
REP. LeGEYT: Hope you understood my question.
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: Again -- no I don't think (inaudible) at all. Obviously our -- our financial aid policy aims to -- to treat similarly circumstanced students evenhandedly no matter where they -- where they come from so we're trying to be fair.
On the other hand, of course, we receive many more applicants from many more places than we are able to admit -- admit at the University. Certainly the fact that Connecticut students who -- who are needy come with the possibility of CICS aids makes us feel good about accepting Connecticut students to Fairfield University which - which of course -- which of course we do, sense of obligation to the state as well.
Do you want to add anything to that Judy at this point?
JUDITH DOBAI: Well I -- I would -- I would just add that for Fairfield our commitment to the State of Conn -- to Connecticut residents is 12.8 million so I'm not sure that we are deferring, you know, that -- that we're not awarding this -- the million point four that we're receiving in CICS money is incredible important but it's not necessarily going to out-of-state students. It's going right back into other state residents.
So it's -- it's -- this is an overall commitment to our State, both on Fairfield University's behalf and obviously on behalf of the State as well.
REP. LeGEYT: So not to belabor the point though but what does -- what does the word leveraged mean in that sentence? That you leverage -- that -- able to leverage substantial amounts of institutional aid?
JUDITH DOBAI: Well I didn't write it but I -- I think I could comment on I think the sentiment behind it because I think it's an incredibly important part of this -- this real sense of partnership. To me leveraging that aid means we know Connecticut residents can potentially bring us resources that help support their needs. We can add our dollars and together we can ensure that the student will be able to attend.
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: We do have to sometimes make distinctions among the students that we do admit and the financial aid that we give them. The CICS program certainly enables us to privilege students from the State of Connecticut.
REP. LeGEYT: I like that answer, thank you.
SENATOR BYE: Thank you.
I -- I have a couple of follow up questions. One is, Father I don't if you were here when we had testimony about data and I'm sure that being President of the independent college network that this is an issue that you've been dealing with and -- and I think you can hear the lack of data sometimes poses challenges for us as we're trying to make policy decisions.
Are you willing, in the face of receiving CICS funds, to, you know, have certain requirements around student data and I think through Secretary Barnes' testimony you could hear that basically he wants to be able to compare Connecticut to out-of-state students so maybe students that aren't receiving CICS to know sort of the value added by CICS for that student.
So you've actually done an excellent job testifying today. You're helping me sort of see it more clearly but I just want to be clear about the data requirements. Are you comfortable with data -- asking for data with the CICS dollars?
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: I -- the short answer to that the question, Senator, is certainly yes and we have been providing data over the years. We have provided additional data in response to requests from -- from the State in -- in the current year and I'll let Judy respond to that since she's the one who has to actually provide the data.
JUDITH DOBAI: Yes I would concur that we've certainly provided additional information over the course of this year including aggregate information as well as unit record information for State of Connecticut residents so that we could really see where the dollars are being invested and -- for CICS.
I think one of the challenges that we face as we think about data is providing private information about non-Connecticut residents that would include their income and their personally identifiable information.
But there are concerns with providing some data for out-of-state individuals but I think if those hurdles can be managed in a way that is appropriate for the release of private information then yes I think, you know, we would be certainly willing to try to find a -- a solution to that.
The challenge we have is that that -- the -- the assurances that we need in terms of privacy have not yet been solved.
SENATOR BYE: Okay we'll look forward to working with you on that. I think it's -- I think it's something that's important to us and -- and just so you know because your poor association is left trying to translate between us and you. I mean it's really -- this legislature, at least this particular Senator and I believe my co-chair, that is really interested in data and there's a big difference between aggregate data and population level data in terms of trying to make policy decisions.
And we've really been trying to get population level data that is by individual student but at a population level. So I imagine we'll continue to have conversations to help us understand the higher ed landscape.
But for me it's important that it be at the -- at the student level. I hear your concerns about out-of-state students, you know, who are not Connecticut residents and -- and that sort of thing. My guess is you're bringing in a lot of out-of-state students who end up settling here, especially with the housing that you offer on the shore.
The other -- the last question that I have is about the tuition. In our -- some of our higher ed approach subcommittee meetings have been asking, you know -- and I think this is a national question as well as a state question, does the availability of financial aid -- is that part of what's driving up the cost of college? I mean I know I just got a bill for my daughter's freshman year that was $58,000 a year. I'm lucky that it's one of those need blind colleges so that's very helpful.
But you know $58,000 there's no one who could afford that. I put myself through college at $7,000. I'm sure that inflation doesn't touch that but there's been an increasing investment in, you know, trying to help students get that degree. We see it as an important national and state initiative.
But does giving financial aid allow the cost of college to simply keep rising? So that's my question.
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: Again I'll -- I'll begin if I may, certainly in the last couple of years, and as we're looking at this year's budget, we are -- we are certainly going to be, and have been, reducing the tuition increases to levels that we haven't seen in 35 or -- or 40 years and I -- I would venture to say that our tuition increase for this year will be below the cost of living.
At the same time we have been cutting back and trimming operations at the University precisely in the interest of providing additional financial aid to students whose circumstances have changed and -- and they present themselves as more needy and also in order to maintain the kind of socio-economic and racial and ethnic diversity that is -- is so important to us.
So if -- if I can portray it we are trying to keep tuition increases very, very moderate, below the cost of living, at the same time that we are looking very carefully at the reallocation of resources in our institutions in order precisely to provide the financial aid to students who -- who are needy and wouldn't be able to attend otherwise.
SENATOR BYE: Okay, super. I really -- I really appreciate that and I appreciate you coming up here and waiting patiently --
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: Certainly.
SENATOR BYE: -- to testify.
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: We hope it will be worth it.
SENATOR BYE: Pardon?
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: We hope it will be worth it.
SENATOR BYE: Well -- well -- I mean I think it's worth it for us because you're --
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: Thank you.
SENATOR BYE: -- providing a really important perspective for us.
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: Thank you.
SENATOR BYE: And it helps to hear the people that are making it work on the ground versus, you know, high level policy discussion. So it -- it's definitely worth your time and -- and we really appreciate it.
FATHER JEFFREY von ARX: Grateful for your time, too.
SENATOR BYE: Next on the list is President Jones. Did you walk here or ride your bike President Jones?
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: (Inaudible)
SENATOR BYE: You're -- you're very close. I'd like to start by thanking you for my fabulous intern, Paige, who has been incredible.
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: I know -- I know she's your intern and thank you for what you've done for her. She's one of our best.
So Representative Willis and Senator Bye and ladies and gentlemen of the Committee, for the record I am James F. Jones, Jr. I am the President of Trinity and I'm here to testify against Section 2 of S.B. 28, An Act Implementing the Governor's Recommendations Concerning Higher Education. To my right is Larry Dow who is our Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid.
The section that I object to exempt students attending institutions with more than 200 million in endowment assets from the Connecticut Independent College Student Grant Program. We're one of Connecticut's finest independent colleges. We are one of the oldest and we enjoy an excellent national and worldwide reputation. Proof of that is that for the class that just matriculated we had 50/50 percent increase in completed (inaudible) for the class that will matriculate in the fall, another ten percent on top of the 50 percent that we had last year and that brings us to 7,700 plus applications that come from all over the world.
In the United States our students attend 2,700 high schools and that's true as well for the number of high schools that we recruit from abroad.
Despite this diverse applicant pool we are deeply committed to admitting and providing financial assistance to our Connecticut residents almost one in five. Of every enrolled student at Trinity is a resident of the state and we provide almost $5 million in institutional aid to Connecticut residents.
Trinity's four and six year graduation rates are among the best in the nation and certainly in the State of Connecticut. CICS recipients represent students of great diversity from across the state choosing the widest range of academic majors and representing the widest range of backgrounds.
Under-represented minorities receive 34 percent of the grants awarded while our overall minority population on campus is 17 percent. And 20 percent of recipients are from Connecticut's major cities. CICS recipients have fantastic graduation and retention rates. Of the Trinity seniors who received CICS funding in the academic year 2010-2011, the percentage who graduated was 100 percent. You didn't mishear me, 100 percent.
Of the Trinity first year students who received CICS funding in the fall of 2010, the percentage who completed their first year successfully and returned as sophomores in the fall of 2011 was 100 percent.
This remarkable first year retention is actually higher than the overall return rate of some 92 percent of all first year students. For fiscal year 2013 the College will spend 5.1 percent of its current endowment value to fund operations. This will amount to $20 million.
Of the College's annual commitment of 34 million in financial assistance to our students, only 4 million -- only 4 million, which is some 12 percent, is funded by the endowment. The rest must be provided by the reduction of tuition, revenue from enrolled students.
Additional commitments on Trinity's endowment come from $150 million in debt and $125 million in plant maintenance, leaving a net worth of $125 million. Despite our significant commitment to providing financial aid, we cannot currently meet the needs of students in our applicant pool. To do so Trinity would need to spend an additional $10 million each year in additional financial aid. In order to generate this kind of funding an additional endowment value of $200 million would be required.
Loss of CICS funding would only widen the already significant gap between the number of admissible students who can afford to attend Trinity and the much smaller percentage of applicants for whom financial aid must be provided.
CICS funding helps the best and brightest of Connecticut's most deserving students attend one of the state's premier institutions of higher learning. The funding is necessary for Trinity to provide access for these students and the loss of CICS funding would significantly impede our ability to respond to the needs of these wonderfully successful students who reside in our state.
Continuing to provide aid and access for our own Connecticut students remains one of Trinity's highest institutional priorities but we cannot do this without your help. So I urge you not to pass this bill and to make sure that the program does not suffer yet another cut in appropriation levels for next year.
Even in the face of a difficult state budget continued support for the existing state need based grant programs must be seen as a crucial investment in our workforce and in our society.
Thank you very much.
SENATOR BYE: Questions from Committee members?
I -- I have one -- oh I'm sorry -- I'll go quickly -- that is about the requirements that come with the CICS program. So are there any requirements besides data, like non-discrimination or other sorts of policies, that need to be in place if you receive CICS funding? Like we fund a lot of things as a state and a lot of times there are rules that go along with that. Are there any rules that go along with the CICS funding?
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: No (inaudible).
SENATOR BYE: Okay that was one of my questions. I have another but I'm going to turn it to Representative LeGeyt who's had a question as well.
REP. LeGEYT: Thank you, Madam Chair.
Good afternoon. Again I want to say that I'm, at this point, not in support of this bill. I'm very concerned about the cuts to CICS funding and the significant percentage that it -- that the cut represents of the total amount of the CICS funding that's provided by the state. I think it's disproportionate to what other programs that the state is trying to manage.
However Secretary Barnes when he was here earlier, I'm not sure if you were here when he testified --
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: We got part of it.
REP. LeGEYT: -- expressed a concern that he felt that CICS funding to private -- private colleges allowed them to then use portions of their endowment to provide more aid to out-of-state students just by a transfer of -- of coverage. And in the last -- Father von Arx who was here -- there was a sentence in there about leveraging and, while I don't believe that that's -- that's the intent of any institution to do that, since the Secretary brought that up I'd just like to offer you the chance to comment on the use of CICS funding and whether it supplants funding that might to go out-of-state students.
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: I can speak only to Trinity and the specifics but I certainly think this is true for the vast majority of the private schools in the Connecticut consortium.
His argument is -- is extremely hard for me to follow. Because of -- of our endowment, $4 million is restricted for financial aid. We make up the rest of it. It's an operating budget hit. It's the second largest hit in the entire College's budget bested only by faculty and staff salary and compensation.
So the argument -- I mean maybe if we had Harvard's endowment, you know, I would feel differently about his position but I -- I've never been able to follow this in a Cartesian way because for Trinity we're spending 4 million of the endowment for financial aid and the rest of the money is coming right out of the operating budget.
So I don't -- I've never quite understood where the basis of his repeated statement is founded upon. I've never figured that part out. I mean we're not -- we don't have $28 billion, you know. And so I've never -- I've just never been able to follow it.
The only concern that I have, Father Jeff alluded to it on behalf of all of us, is -- his data -- we're trying to do what he wants on the data. But it's very hard to figure out how much specific information you provide from students who are not residents of the State of Connecticut and how do we make sure that we're not invading somebody's privacy by -- by trying to produce all of this.
But we continue to try to produce the data and we will continue to try to produce the data. I don't know when we will ever convince him but maybe he will come and explain to me how we're using endowment monies in a different way because of CICS. I don't follow it because it's only $4 million.
LARRY DOW: I would only add (inaudible). I think the question (inaudible).
A VOICE: Larry, Larry could you push your button and turn the mic on? Thank you.
LARRY DOW: I always wanted to push my button. Thank you.
I will say that the question has been addressed in a sense already but I think it's -- it's a -- a misdirected question. If the question -- if I may rephrase it to say -- it sounds to me as though the question is asking if CICS money is removed from our financial aid budget, are we willing to testify before you today that -- that that money will be shifted from the general financial aid fund to continue to provide the exact same level of funding to Connecticut residents and will be -- will we be able to guarantee that we are able to admit the same number of needy Connecticut residents?
Because certainly the math I think it's -- it's almost a trick question. The math I think is irrefutable. To have CICS support certainly allows us to stretch the financial aid budget in various directions and I think it would be disingenuous to suggest that that's not the case.
But that misses the point I think badly regarding the proportionality of what we're talking about. We are not here to boast about 7,700 applicants. We're here to say that in light of those numbers, we have made a -- a strong commitment institutionally and again I want to emphasize the word that has been used before, the partnership involved and it is a three-way partnership. When the question was asked will CICS money reduce the -- the requirement of the CICS recipient's family? Essentially the answer is -- is no because we are using a methodology that is an attempt to be fair across the board.
I think the key gets back to the admissibility of these students and our ability to provide funding for any students who are admitted in order to make their enrollment realistic and the -- what CICS does is it helps Trinity maintain its own commitment which is frankly supplanted quite generously from our operating budget to provide access to Connecticut student who wish to attend an independent college.
And the other thing I would just like to mention is that as -- as a state our independent colleges are certainly in competition with independent colleges from other states. So when students make the intelligent choice, and it isn't for everyone, but when they make the thoughtful choice that attending our kind of institution is where they will belong and where -- where they will flourish, we want to be in the game for those students and we don't want to be losing them to comparable independent colleges elsewhere.
SENATOR BYE: Thank you very much.
Thanks for that question because I think that was a very, very important question for us. For me it's bringing together a lot of things because Representative Willis talked about need blind colleges and there are only 12 or so in the country so that's a rare animal.
So you're trying to get as many students that you can in with need because of part of your mission as a college and the CICS grant helps you do that in effect.
LARRY DOW: Absolutely.
SENATOR BYE: And so it's all coming around.
LARRY DOW: That's very true.
SENATOR BYE: Because otherwise you'd maybe have to take a full pay family from either Connecticut or some other state if you didn't have the marginal CICS dollars to get them to what you're trying to get to is what the FAFSA says parents can pay and CICS helps you get there which allows you to accept more Connecticut students, so --
LARRY DOW: That's absolutely correct.
SENATOR BYE: A bell just -- a light just went off in my head with that answer. I have a -- a couple of other things. First on the data I want to just touch base because I know that's a touchy subject and I don't know if you know this, President Jones, but I ran the Trinity College Community Child Center and --
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: Yes I do know.
SENATOR BYE: -- we took school readiness children who got school readiness funding from the State of Connecticut and what happened over the years -- for the first few years there were no requirements but then over time we wanted to see how we were doing. And so I had to provide data, at first, about the children who received school readiness funding and then -- and all the teachers, even if they were not teaching children who got school readiness funding, and then, over time, I had to collect data about every student so that the state could make comparisons about the impact of school readiness.
So it was something that, at every point, we challenged but I would say at this point now I'm a policymaker not a director fighting for the -- fighting -- because it was a pain in the butt too. I mean it wasn't just that -- the privacy --
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: Right.
SENATOR BYE: -- it was -- it was a lot of data that they were requiring. So I just use that as an example of when our program decided to take state dollars there were certain requirements that came with that and they weren't always the easiest to comply with.
But I -- I think now that I'm a policymaker I'm trying to go toward that same level of data so we can understand the whole picture of higher ed. I also just wanted to make sure that I -- I thanked you, President Jones, for your commitment to students from Hartford and needy students from surrounding communities because having worked on the campus it is a big part of your landscape.
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: Yes it is.
SENATOR BYE: And your commitment to the city is really important to our state and it sounds like you're certainly using the CICS dollars--
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: We're trying our best.
SENATOR BYE: -- to help accomplish that.
I have one other totally off topic question but it's a burning issue for me is how can we get our liberal arts colleges to start training teachers again because we have a crisis. You have people like Jack Dougherty on your faculty.
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: Right.
SENATOR BYE: And you have a lot of students who I've had as interns who are in educational studies with an interest in education and I'm married to a teacher who went to Trinity and was trained there as a teacher and feels that it was an -- just a liberal arts training that comes from a school like Trinity has been vital to her being a really successful teacher. So the long question but I think it is part of our solution and I'm wondering what your thoughts are on that.
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: Nationally over about a 40 year period there's -- there are studies of this -- there's a whole bibliography about it. And as state boards of education ramped up, especially curricular requirements, the little tiny places like Trinity simply couldn't meet what the bureaucracy was demanding and the state system could in -- in a much broader way. And so it's -- it's one of those curious, in my mind, not altogether pleasant lessons about what happens when unintended consequences get in the way of common sense.
Your -- of course there's a teacher crisis and we should all be worrying about the standardization of really good people going into teaching. My own bias is especially at the elementary school level. I think sometimes if you miss the child by the third grade you've missed the child.
But it's a curious thing that if you want to look for a (inaudible) this history it's in what happened in the individual states over a period of about 40 years on -- on teacher requirements and the fact that the little places like Trinity could never in a million years meet what the state was demanding. It's a very interesting history.
SENATOR BYE: It's a -- I've never thought of that.
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: No it's true.
SENATOR BYE: That's why it's nice to have you here and ask that kind of question and I think I'll follow up off-line with how we could work --
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: Please.
SENATOR BYE: -- with our state board of education and our legislature because my guess is given that top students in our nation are competing very hard for spots in Teach for America --
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: Yes they are.
SENATOR BYE: -- that you're graduating a lot of people who are going on to teach -- I think they're taking 130 now or something.
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: Right.
SENATOR BYE: So it's probably your very best students that are getting admitted. But I'd certainly like to see colleges like Trinity as a part of our educational landscape and I hadn't thought of that but what an excellent, excellent point.
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: There's a whole bibliography on it.
SENATOR BYE: Yeah and I'll -- I'll follow up and get that from you.
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: Sure.
SENATOR BYE: My co-chair has a question and I'm going to sign-off and thank you for your testimony.
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: Of course.
REP. WILLIS: Thank you.
And thank you for coming here today. I really appreciate it as we try to get our arms around this issue and how we deal with it.
I asked the question of Fairfield, tuition and board at Trinity is?
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: Fifty-seven thousand.
REP. WILLIS: Wow I'm glad I went to school --
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: Don't we all?
REP. WILLIS: I'm glad I went a long time ago. Day students -- I didn't ask this -- town students, how many do you have?
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: Not many because we're a residential liberal arts college but maybe the Dean knows.
LARRY DOW: If I may put this, with all due respect to the -- the population as defined by age, most of the traditionally aged students are in residence on campus, a small percentage are in private housing. We also do have a program that is called the individualized degree program and it is by definition a non-resident, in terms of the campus residency, a non-resident program.
So there are probably 100 to 200 students from the Hartford region who are not on campus in residence but are attending --
REP. WILLIS: And those are primarily returning students what you would call --
LARRY DOW: Primarily students who have -- who, by virtue of their age frankly, have other responsibilities that they must sustain: family, jobs and the like and are usually already residing in -- in a particular place and will -- will take courses without residing in the dorm system.
REP. WILLIS: I also want to comment I thought your -- the comp -- the competition -- your comment regarding the competition with other private institutions and institutions from other states and keeping Connecticut students here making it more affordable to them.
This is -- but at the same time you have to balance out having a diverse student body and that's very important I believe to any college. One of the things that I found interesting with -- with my children was the further west they went in their acceptances the more the financial aid was because there was a push.
So, you know, a west coast college was very generous, extremely generous in their financial aid package. Of course my daughter didn't decide to go there but that's -- but -- but we did notice that pattern that if you went from the east coast where there was nothing, you know, in Connecticut, to as you -- we traveled westward they got richer and richer.
So I don't know if that's something you do if you want somebody from California or China or whatnot. Do you tend to put together a special incentive to their financial aid package to attract?
LARRY DOW: No I -- I can't claim to be a true authority on -- on the history of financial aid throughout the entire country but essentially I think you're referring to an historical reality whereby in the northeast and in the east where there has been a predominance of independent colleges that 30 years ago the philosophy of meeting need became the premise that most of us were operating on.
Whereas, meaning no disrespect to the Midwestern colleges and the western colleges, they came -- they came from a tradition, if you will, of offering merit money beyond demonstrated or calculated need much more readily and much -- in a much more common fashion than the -- than the eastern schools.
We're starting to blend, as everything else is in the country, but I would say we come from -- from different traditions in terms of how financial aid is administered.
REP. WILLIS: Very interesting. Thank you. That was very insightful.
Any other questions or comments?
Hearing none, thank you very much gentlemen.
JAMES F. JONES, JR.: Thank you.
REP. WILLIS: Elaine Solgina, did I get that right, from Connecticut College?
ELAINE SOLINGA: Thank you. My name is Elaine Solinga. I'm the director of financial aid at Connecticut College. Connecticut College currently provides financial aid to 48 percent of our students. Connecticut recipients, including 142 CICS recipients, were awarded more than 4 million in institutional grants in addition to the 400,000 from the CICS program.
Let me share with you some statistics that demonstrate how effective the CICS program is on our campus. Twenty-four percent of the CICS recipients are students of color compared to 16 percent of our undergraduates. Twenty-three percent of freshman CICS recipients are 1st generation compared to 13 percent of the overall class. Thirty-one percent of CICS recipients are Pell eligible compared to 14 percent of our undergraduates.
Connecticut College is proud to be able to meet the full demonstrated need of our students which has been vital especially in this weakened economy. We are committed to educating Connecticut residents and we need support from all sectors, including the state and federal governments to make this happen.
The current value of our endowment is estimated at 195.2 million after this year's committed draw for the spend rule. A spend rule of five percent is used to help fund our operating costs. The goal of the endowment is to serve students in the future in the same way it does today.
Our total institutional grant budget for this year is $24.7 million. Approximately 2.8 million is funded from the endowment. Most of these funds are restricted meaning that they are earmarked for students with specific characteristics. The balance of our annual grant budget is funded through tuition revenue, annual fund raising and gifts.
In this economy Connecticut College is mindful of its price and its impact on our ability to continue to enroll and fund deserving students. If CICS funding were to be eliminated, we would have to make some difficult choices. Quite frankly, we would likely admit fewer high need students from the State of Connecticut.
I would be happy to answer any questions that you might have.
REP. WILLIS: Thank you very much.
Any questions or comments from members of the Committee?
Thank you very much. We haven't -- the -- my co-chair on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education is a graduate of your school, Senator Maynard. So I think the other members of the Connecticut Conference owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude because I think that'll be very helpful in the process. Thank you very much.
ELAINE SOLINGA: Could I just clarify?
REP. WILLIS: Sure.
ELAINE SOLINGA: There was a question that you asked earlier about -- about the -- oh yeah the tuition, ours is 54,970. Our increases have been approximately 3 and a half percent for the past three years.
There was a question about were there any specific criteria for awarding the CICS grant and yes there are some criteria. You have to allocate a certain amount for students of color. It's need based. There -- obviously it goes to Connecticut residents and community service is also a piece that has to be met with this funding.
REP. WILLIS: Is that your -- that's your rule or --?
ELAINE SOLINGA: No that's the State of Connecticut CICS --
REP. WILLIS: Could you give me that information again?
ELAINE SOLINGA: A percent of the CICS funding must go to students of color, minority students.
REP. WILLIS: And what is the percentage do you know?
ELAINE SOLINGA: I -- it's 10 percent. It is need based obviously to Connecticut residents and there is a community service portion that is given to schools to help students volunteer in their local community.
REP. WILLIS: Can you explain that a little bit more. I'm just -- I'm not sure I understand how that works.
ELAINE SOLINGA: Of the CICS funding we receive, approximately 6,000 is reserved for students to work in volunteer services. It's similar to the federal program, the federal work study -- a component is used for community service. A percentage -- a component of the CICS grant is used for community service.
REP. WILLIS: Institution -- your -- you have to pay out $6,000 for students to participate and you pay that for them to go down and work at the soup kitchen or --
ELAINE SOLINGA: No that -- it comes from the overall pot of money that the state sends the college. We have to use a portion of that to fund community service jobs in our area.
REP. WILLIS: Wow it's really interesting that no one else has ever mentioned that. That's -- that was really --
ELAINE SOLINGA: And it is statutory.
REP. WILLIS: And the rest of them didn't know that. They should have gone to Connecticut College. Okay.
SENATOR BOUCHER: Thank you, Madam Chairman and thank you for your testimony.
Could it be inferred that -- that possibly then minority students could be disproportionately affected by this particular change?
ELAINE SOLINGA: Yes. I would -- I would say that that would be a result because it is in the language that you have to designate a percentage of your allocation to students who are under-represented.
SENATOR BOUCHER: And further the concern about whether these grants were going to the students or -- or, you know, affecting the cost structure for the university itself, it sounds like just by those terms that are stipulated -- restrictions that in fact you are having to use that grant for Connecticut students with the parameters that were set in there would you say?
ELAINE SOLINGA: That is correct. And I will add that all colleges are audited annually, at least I can speak for those independent colleges in Connecticut. We do a federal audit every year and part of the federal audit that we do at Connecticut College, conducted by an independent auditing agency, is they audit the CICS grant, separate from the state audit.
So they are verifying that Connecticut resins -- residents are in fact benefitting from the CICS grant. They are verifying that we are awarding as stipulated in the statute. This is something that we do every year.
SENATOR BOUCHER: Thank you so much for that very important addition to your testimony. I think maybe these are some of the answers that our Secretary Barnes was really looking for and it's too bad that he wasn't here to hear it but hopefully it will be in the transcript.
Thank you very much for your testimony, very, very helpful.
REP. WILLIS: Thank you. Your testimony was very helpful and very insightful.
Next up is Wesleyan, John Gudvondra?
JOHN GUDVANGEN: Okay then thank you very much. Hi my name is John --
REP. WILLIS: Welcome -- welcome.
JOHN GUDVANGEN: -- John Gudvangen. I'm the director of financial aid at Wesleyan University in Middletown. We appreciate the opportunity to provide some compelling information and perhaps maybe even some corrections to what we've heard earlier today on why it is important for the State of Connecticut to maintain its commitment to providing funding for the Connecticut Independent Colleges Student Grant Program.
In particular we are concerned with the provision to strip funding for students based on the size of the endowment at the institution they attend. We believe the elimination of CICS funding undermines Connecticut's goal to strengthen educational pathways for needy state residents.
When we educate students from the State of Connecticut we save the state significant costs by educating students who might otherwise attend in-state institutions. At Wesleyan we -- we educate well over 200 Connecticut residents each year and this year we are providing over $3 million in our own grant funding to 104 needy Connecticut residents.
We receive only $306,000 in CICS grant program funding during the current school year, a number that is down over 30 percent from two years ago. This year we have 64 students receiving the CICS program funding and 47 percent of them are minority students.
Our entering class average grant is well over $37,000 and we receive -- our CICS grant recipients get about $4,700 each. We continue to make significant commitment to educating these residents and meet their full financial need. The program is an important part of what makes it possible for us to sustain the commitment to meeting the financial need of these students.
In the last three years Wesleyan has provided double digit increases -- percentage increases in our grant commitment to needy students despite the painful reductions to the endowment during the economic downturn. We can't sustain that level of financial growth -- financial aid growth.
We dedicate sizable portions of the University's resources, including endowment earnings, to provide access and opportunities to students from Connecticut and all across the country and the world. Our percentage of federal program eligible students has nearly doubled in the entering class over the last five years, certainly a higher percentage than the University of Connecticut, who I might add has the University of Connecticut Foundation at over $200 million in endowment.
Twenty-one and a half percent of this year's entering class is receiving a Pell Grant. We provide aid awards with reasonable loan levels and we reduce or eliminate loans for need -- for the neediest students including those from Connecticut.
That is, in fact, a very big commitment to be able to reduce loans and meet full need. We provide access and opportunity for the best and the brightest students of Connecticut to remain in-state. Well over 90 percent of our students graduate from Wesleyan University and nearly all of them in four years. The CICS program is an important component to leverage the funds necessary to sustain our commitment to student success.
So we are urging you to provide at least a nominal commitment to needy Connecticut students at Wesleyan University and the four or five other institutions in this category.
The proposal before you eliminates Connecticut funding for students as we've talked about with endowments over $200 million, certainly an arbitrary measure that takes into account nothing other than the size of the endowment, how much the -- the institution receives from other sources of funds or how it uses its endowment.
Our endowment, which is under $600 million, must provide resources to a wide variety of needs at the institution. It's not possible to simply reassign the endowment to financial aid and it should be clear that the payout from the endowment is nowhere near the institution's annual financial aid commitments. Wesleyan University is providing over $45 million in financial aid grants to students this year.
So in summary your continued investment in the CICS program at Wesleyan and the other schools -- the other universities and colleges is an enormous -- leverages an enormous amount of additional resources for student success -- for Connecticut students' success. For many of our highest need Connecticut residents admitted to Wesleyan University we are likely the most affordable option for them. Our institutions demonstrate a very strong track record of success in educating and graduating these needy Connecticut residents.
Your decision to maintain CICS program funding for these students at these schools will provide an enormous return on your investment.
Thank you for your consideration.
SENATOR BYE: Thank you so much for your testimony.
Any questions from Committee members? Representative Willis.
REP. WILLIS: I just -- I'll the question tuition at Wesleyan?
JOHN GUDVANGEN: I wrote it down here somewhere, $43,404 is the tuition. The room and board charge is about another $12,000 or 13,000 depending on the year in school. So that's just about fifty-five seven -- 55,700 for tuition, room and board for an entering first year student.
REP. WILLIS: You state here 90 percent of your entering students graduate. Do you know what that percentage is for the Connecticut CICS recipient?
JOHN GUDVANGEN: I don't know that -- that particular breakout.
REP. WILLIS: Could -- do you think you could find that out for us because that would be --?
JOHN GUDVANGEN: We could certainly get that information. In fact that's part of the data that we provided recently to the State and is in that report.
REP. WILLIS: Oh.
JOHN GUDVANGEN: Sorry I don't have a copy of that in front of me.
REP. WILLIS: I do.
JOHN GUDVANGEN: But I know that on top of my head.
REP. WILLIS: I do so thank you. But I don't -- okay -- okay -- that was the extent of my questions. Thank you very much. Thank you for coming.
SENATOR BYE: Thank you. You get off the hook because you know you're after many other college presentations --
REP. WILLIS: Right.
JOHN GUDVANGEN: That's right, right.
SENATOR BYE: -- and I think they've been really helpful to us and them. Thank you for your commitment to need blind.
JOHN GUDVANGEN: If you don't mind if I -- if I add one thing.
SENATOR BYE: Yeah go ahead.
JOHN GUDVANGEN: In relation to --
SENATOR BYE: You've been listening and you're here.
JOHN GUDVANGEN: -- in relation to what I heard this morning, it's actually counter to the legislation -- the current legislation to think that Mr. Barnes would -- would say that we should be reducing the family's contribution differently if they get the Connecticut grant. That would be illegal because -- I think it might not be illegal if it's need based but if you're, in fact, basing this on need, you meet need -- in this partnership that we've all talked about to -- to meet need if we say well whose -- whose dollars should we then start using as merit dollars essentially.
When the Rotary Club gives a scholarship should we treat that differently than a CICS grant? Should we treat that differently than the federal grant? Should we treat it differently than a Wesleyan grant? It's counter-intuitive to, in fact, what the state says is important about meeting needs and providing funding for the neediest students. It is in fact a need based program.
SENATOR BYE: Well thank you for that and I'm -- I just want to follow up with -- to try to clarify what I think his point is which is that, you know, he's under incredible pressures, you know, the state that is -- there's a lot of demands. People whose children will never go to college because they struggle with developmental disabilities and we're way under funding what we should be paying to those homes.
So I think what's happening is he's operating in a world of diminished --
JOHN GUDVANGEN: Very limited resources.
SENATOR BYE: -- resources -- thank you for the word -- and, you know -- so he's saying to himself is this the kind of investment that will really help the families and, as a parent of a child in college, you know, I -- I get his point because I fill out a FAFSA and no matter what's paying for what, my parent contribution is the same as you're saying.
And if you do get another scholarship, it might reduce a loan or other things. That's -- I have to say it's one of the great frustrations as a parent. If your child gets a scholarship, your payment stays the same. You know you get excited at this assembly but not for long.
So I think his thinking is how is the dollar best spent for the state and I think we've heard compelling testimony today that this is a very good investment for Connecticut. But I -- I think that you have to take his comments in the context of limited resources.
JOHN GUDVANGEN: I served as a school rep member for 12 years. I -- I understand the limited resources in all sorts of areas.
SENATOR BYE: Thank you very much.
JOHN GUDVANGEN: Thank you.
SENATOR BYE: Next on the list -- list is Nick Yoia -- I hope I'm saying correctly. Correct me if you will. Welcome.
DOMINIC YOIA: Thank you. Good afternoon. My name is Dominic Yoia. I'm the director of -- senior director of financial aid at Quinnipiac University. As you know last year legislators were conflected -- confronted with making some difficult decisions in balancing the state budget in an economic environment that no one has seen since the great depression.
Like most state programs, higher education received its fair share of program cuts and when all was said and done, the Capitol Scholarship and the CICS grant programs suffered tremendous cuts in funding and, to a large extent, students and their parents were left to make up the difference.
While I think it -- that most of us in higher education understood the gravity and severity of Connecticut's state budget crisis, no one was prepared for the news that six private colleges received last week. Students who choose to attend one of a select group of six private colleges, with the highest graduation rates in Connecticut, would no longer qualify to receive CICS funding.
What you may not know is that there are a number of federal aid cuts scheduled for the upcoming academic year which will impact every student receiving financial aid at every single college in the country and here are just a few items worth noting.
Subsidized Stafford loan interest rates are sche -- rates are scheduled to double in July. Subsidized Stafford Loans have been eliminated for graduate students. There are no increases scheduled for the federal Pell grant program. SEOG and work-study programs have been reduced. ACG, SMART and LEAP grant programs have been eliminated. The Perkins loan program has not received a federal capital contribution in 10 years. Interest rates on federal parent loans are currently at 7.9 percent, higher than any interest rate a consumer would pay in today's market on any type of conventional loan.
That basically covers every single Title IV federal student aid program we have on the books. What I didn't put in here, and I found out yesterday, was the VA had also made cuts to their programs and I -- and I say that because I had a student visit me in the spring semester where that actually happened and she was left with an $8,000 deficit. Unfortunately found that out yesterday.
Quinnipiac University continues to be one of the three largest beneficiaries of the CICS grant program which allocates funds based upon a number of Connecticut students enrolled at each institution. At Quinnipiac 81 percent of our students are receiving some form of grant or scholarship and last year 526 students received the CICS grant.
CICS funds are appropriated to needy students and a portion of each college's allocation is spent on minority students and students serving in community service positions such as soup kitchens, food banks, nursing homes, animal shelters and inner-city schools, to name a few.
I know that many of you are questioning how will eliminating our institution from the CICS program really affect Connecticut students and I think that's a fair question. The short answer is a harsh one. When you reduce or eliminate a grant program you leave a student with three viable options: parent loans, private loans and short-term monthly payment plans.
And when we collectively make cuts across federal, state and institutional aid programs we send higher education back 100 years where attending college was based upon a family's wealth and not a student's academic potential.
I respectfully ask that we don't view the CICS program as an expense but rather as an investment. It's an investment in our students, in our communities and all of our futures. Thank you for listening and I humbly ask for your support in assuring that low and middle income students in Connecticut can continue to pursue their educational aspirations at six of the finest private colleges and universities that Connecticut has to offer.
SENATOR BYE: Thank you very much for your testimony and I think you're the first person that's put the cuts in the context of other national cuts which, as a parent of three in college next year, makes me swallow really hard as we await our financial aid decision. So I think families are under increasing pressures to afford college as it becomes less affordable.
I think today we've heard virtually every college costs between $50,000 and $60,000 at the private institutions and I think we can see why there's such a demand for our in-state institutions as well to -- to be affordable and we subsidize those as well.
So I -- I appreciate your testimony.
Representative Sawyer do you have any questions or are you good?
And thank you for coming.
DOMINIC YOIA: Thank you very much.
SENATOR BYE: And I appreciate your patience.
DOMINIC YOIA: Thank you.
SENATOR BYE: Next on the list is Barbara Richards. Welcome Barbara.
BARBARA RICHARDS: Thank you. Good afternoon those of you remaining and thank you.
SENATOR BYE: Good afternoon and just know, you know, as you -- it -- it doesn't look like there are a lot of people here but in fact, you know, we did all receive your correspondence and have raised this bill to address your concerns and I know it's --
BARBARA RICHARDS: Oh -- oh that's nice to know.
SENATOR BYE: -- very important to my co-chair, Representative Willis. Oh yes.
BARBARA RICHARDS: Yes I know it is too and -- and I have been corresponding with her so thank you very much.
SENATOR BYE: Thank you very much for coming.
BARBARA RICHARDS: Okay. I'm a professor of sociology at Housatonic Community College, a former member of the standing advisory committee to the Board of Governors for Higher Education and an alternate member of the Faculty Advisory Committee of the Board of Regents. Thank you very much for the opportunity to testify. I'm here about Bill No. 42.
I believe that the key word in the bill is unitary. It is important to know how the current community college representatives to the Faculty Advisory Committee were selected. The system office, that is the former system office, asked the academic deans to conduct democratic elections on each campus. Some deans asked the chairs of the senates or councils to run the elections and others held elections at meetings of the faculty.
The first stage of the elections was completed on each campus resulting in 12 nominees for three positions as representatives to the FAC plus an unspecified number of alternates.
At this point in the process three unions met with the new vice president for human resources of the Board of Regents. The unions proposed that they should name the community college members of the FAC. Their proposal was accepted and the unions then made their selections. All of the community college representatives and alternates currently serving on the Faculty Advisory Committee were names by these three unions.
I am a strong supporter of unions, have been for years, but -- but I see their mission as distinct from that of a Faculty Advisory Committee that has input on matters such as mission statements or policies on transfer and articulation. Unions have a duty to prioritize the welfare of their members, while the Advisory Committee should focus on the needs of the students and of the state.
On another part of the bill, the insertion of the word teaching before the word faculty that's getting a lot of attention here. I would like to suggest that the Faculty Advisory Committee be enlarged to include one representative per campus from the community colleges and three representatives per campus from the CSUs. This would result in more effective communication by the FAC with all parts of the new combined system.
And with directions and a -- with direct elections and a larger committee, the teaching faculty, I believe, would be strongly represented on the resulting body and it would not be necessary to insert the word faculty. It would be useful for the committee to have the input of some non-teaching representatives as well.
Finally a question. If the bill passes, would the intent be for the existing Faculty Advisory Committee to serve out its two-year term or for the Faculty Senates to hold new elections soon after the statute takes effect?
Thank you very much and I'd be very happy to answer any questions. I'm the first community college person to speak here.
SENATOR BYE: Well thank you and I really want to thank you for your advocacy because what you pointed out to us as you were corresponding was that we were not nearly as clear as we could have been with the legislation around how this would go.
BARBARA RICHARDS: Well I think -- I think that the -- the problem is it's so complicated on the campuses about some places we have college senates, faculty senates. We have councils -- academic councils and, to some extent, you can't specify all that.
SENATOR BYE: Right.
BARBARA RICHARDS: You need to leave it up to us that -- I think it -- the generic term is governance bodies.
SENATOR BYE: What's that?
BARBARA RICHARDS: When we report to NEAG, the report on our governance structures and things like councils and senates. And then of course we're quite different from the CSUs. I -- I think that on -- on our campus -- I was just talking with the CSU people, one of the unions there, and it's their belief that if they held just the direct election that was of everyone, they probably would not elect non-fac -- non-teaching faculty.
I think we would because we tend to work together pretty well across the lines. We're small and we're kind of egalitarian and respect each other and -- and respected individuals would be elected from each campus.
SENATOR BYE: Right, right, okay. And another thing we're really going after is a uniform process.
BARBARA RICHARDS: Oh yes please.
SENATOR BYE: I think that's important to this Committee and we've already heard legislation that way. One thing I have concerns about, but maybe you can quell my concerns, is -- you know I've been on a lot of governing bodies and boards and they're really -- they really can get too big to be effective.
And so if we had one representative per campus from the community college and one representative per campus from the CSU, I think we're up to 16 and then there's been recommendations today to --
BARBARA RICHARDS: To go to 25.
SENATOR BYE: -- to also have members of SUOAF which I think we're going to hear more about, the faculty -- the administrative faculty members and make sure they're represented. So, you know, I guess my question is what size do you think is a good size for a -- a board -- or too big?
BARBARA RICHARDS: Well I -- I think the -- the problem that we had -- we had one meeting so far and we are involving alternates. We have a lot of alternates the way it works.
SENATOR BYE: Apparently, I hear they've got a lot of alternates.
BARBARA RICHARDS: We -- we probably don't need that many alternates and you -- you could decide to specify that but we immediately wanted to get in touch with everyone, all the employees and especially faculty, about the transfer and articulation proposal which is happening right now.
So we sent out an email and then we looked around the room and we didn't have people from most of the campuses and the community colleges to get in touch with people. So I said I'll take Gateway and I'm now getting some results from Gateway but not many because they don't know me. I can't chat with them. It's very useful to have a person --
SENATOR BYE: I think that's an excellent point.
BARBARA RICHARDS: -- and I think the presidents have a council of 17. The students I believe have one from each community college campus but we only have three and then whatever number of alternates for 12 campuses. It -- it would also take care -- I know some of the small campuses are concerned that they might not have a voice and, if we had 12, they certainly would have a voice.
SENATOR BYE: Okay well we'll certainly take that into account. You make a good point. The Presidents Council is 17.
BARBARA RICHARDS: Yeah.
SENATOR BYE: So other questions? Representative Sawyer.
REP. SAWYER: It's an interesting dichotomy when you don't have branch -- fiel -- contacts out in these other institutions. Could you envision, trying to think outside the box, of a -- then a subcommittee of which -- if each campus represent -- each campus voted in someone to the Faculty Advisory Committee? No I'm sorry -- if you had a limited number that belonged to the Faculty Advisory Committee and they could be elected from a subcommittee that would contain one from each so there was a dialogue body that was representative of each campus and then --
BARBARA RICHARDS: (Inaudible)
REP. SAWYER: -- from that group people would be elected to be a member of the Faculty Advisory Committee? I don't know, I'm trying to find a way because the articulation is -- is going to make or break the success of this for some institutions. Some will be successful, others it could absolutely be -- be an absolute abysmal failure because there's no connectivity.
BARBARA RICHARDS: Um it's possible. I mean one of things I'm trying to do now is -- I don't know exactly why but we haven't really been in much touch with each other across campuses except for the Early Childhood people are -- I think some (inaudible) are but -- and I'm trying to find out who's the head of each senate and who's in their senate so that I'll be able to send you that information just -- and so that we'll all know. I'll send it -- I'm -- I'm sending it out also to -- the people I find out I will also send them the information so that they know.
I -- I know I asked our -- our senate head do you know any of the other ones and she said no.
REP. SAWYER: And that's because you have a passion to do this.
BARBARA RICHARDS: So we need to be in touch more.
REP. SAWYER: You have a passion to do this and you're digging into it which is wonderful but someone else with a -- perhaps a --
BARBARA RICHARDS: I just -- right now the only thing we have that pulls us together is the Faculty Advisory Committee and so that's why I think of having the 12 there. It might be possible to have another group with 12 out of which came the Faculty Advisory. But I don't know, I'm not -- I find the -- the somewhat larger groups kind of work pretty well. You have people that volunteer for subcommittees and -- and do a lot of work that needs to be -- and there's a lot of work that needs to be done.
The responses we got on this transfer and articulation are extensive and detailed and complicated, so, you know --
REP. SAWYER: Thank you.
BARBARA RICHARDS: Okay.
SENATOR BYE: Thank you so much for your testimony and for your patience today.
BARBARA RICHARDS: Thank you. I'm -- I'm glad you were actually getting that correspondence (inaudible).
SENATOR BYE: Oh yes we were -- we were and we were -- we were discussing it even as it was going on --
BARBARA RICHARDS: Right.
SENATOR BYE: -- as we got word that things were challenging, so thank you.
BARBARA RICHARDS: Okay. Well I'll be around if you have any further questions in the future.
SENATOR BYE: Super.
JAMES LoMONACO: Good afternoon, Senator Bye, Representative Sawyer.
SENATOR BYE: Good afternoon.
JAMES LoMONACO: Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. I'm here to talk about Senate Bill 42. What I do is represent the 700 or so professional employees of the Connecticut State University, the people that provide direct services to students in such areas as admissions, financial aid, career counseling, academic advisement, academic support services. We also do things like design, do the -- the initial programs for the buildings and facilities that the University uses for its academic and -- and other purposes.
So the problem that we have with Senate Bill 42 is that the language says that -- that -- well we have some agreement and some disagreement. Where the language says teaching faculty we disagree and I think the -- the language ought to change to allow administrative faculty to participate as well.
The -- you Senator Bye earlier today mentioned the complexity of higher education. It's financing. It's the -- the reorganization and the entire process. You're absolutely right.
Representative Willis spoke to the problem with silos and unfortunately this bill creates a silo because it excludes from formal representation about 40 percent of intellectual capital that the University has to provide services to students.
We're deeply involved in design of all sorts of programs and we care for students outside of the classroom.
So I think the work the Advisory Board's going to have will exceed -- far exceed that -- that Professor Adair, my friend Stephen, spoke about earlier where he thought it was going to be mostly curricular in nature. I don't -- I don't see that.
If you listen to the testimony taken by this Committee over the last several weeks, the Committee members, the witnesses spoke about admissions, problem with fun -- funding, problems with financial aid, all of the things that -- that my members can have a very valuable and useful affect on in terms of advising the Board of Regents.
Now we think the Board ought to -- the language ought to -- ought to change in this way is that for CSU, and my colleagues from the community colleges behind me will speak to their -- their issues and perhaps their solutions, but for CSU you have said you want a uniform -- well through the whole process -- you want a uniform process. We can provide that through the faculty senates at Southern and the administrative senate at Southern and the university senates at the other three campuses.
So the -- the way to elect them at CSU is -- is doable. The only point I would make is that we would ask in the legislation if it's necessary that they have two members from the teaching faculty and one member from the administrative faculty. And by -- and the reason I ask for that is because, without that stipulation, none of us would be elected simply by the preponderance of votes that belong to the teaching faculty.
But unfortunately I think it would be a mistake if our -- if our members weren't represented. We do have some language in our collective bargaining agreement that speaks to our right to participate in shared governance and I can't imagine why the Board of Regents would want to exclude an enormous amount of expertise that they already pay for.
SENATOR BYE: Thank you, James, that was actually very compelling and -- and I think we have heard about the complexity today. We've been talking about that. And so what you're asking for is sort of a carve out that we make sure that people from the administrative faculty are involved -- are a part of this governance process with the Board of Regents.
JAMES LoMONACO: Yes I am.
SENATOR BYE: Okay. It seems like a reasonable request and I think you do have a different perspective. We want to be sure the teaching faculty are represented but --
JAMES LoMONACO: Absolutely.
SENATOR BYE: -- I think you make a case about why we would want to be sure that administrative faculty are included as well so thank you for coming today.
It looks like my co-chair has a question.
REP. WILLIS: I have -- I have a question. I like what you said about financial aid and that advice being shared. I mean the intent was teaching faculty, that's what we want, teaching faculty ensure that so many of the issues that we are concerned about and feel that the Board of Trustees -- Board of Regents should be looking at is primarily teaching.
How many -- what's the number again on the Board -- the Advisory Board, nine?
SENATOR BYE: I think it's seven.
REP. WILLIS: Seven. Is there -- I would be not inclined to open and roll up to -- completely up to staff representation. I would like us to pick out categories. I think financial aid -- maybe a financial aid person on -- on there and that's -- we'll leave it at that. I can't -- I think if you can make a compelling argument for somebody else who's going to be on that Board but right now my focus, you know, the intention was teaching, though I could certainly buy into financial aid. I found the rest would be questionable at best.
So thank you. If you could just give us a list that would be great.
JAMES LoMONACO: Okay, okay, although I'd add academic support services to that because they are -- we have some nationally known folks who could provide those sorts of programs that would achieve some of the remediation or the concerns you had about courses that were not usable later on so -- but I will provide that.
REP. WILLIS: I just don't want administrators. I want -- I want -- we don't want administrators. We want people who are involved in teaching and we want to see people -- I think you made a very compelling case for a financial aid person but I'm not sold on anybody else, so thank you.
JAMES LoMONACO: Well as long as we recom -- recognize that we provide direct services to students.
Okay, thank you.
SENATOR BYE: Representative Sawyer.
REP. SAWYER: Could I just ask one more question before you go?
JAMES LoMONACO: I'm sorry, pardon me, my mistake.
REP. SAWYER: No, no mine. I didn't speak fast enough. You heard the other dialogue that I had and so my question to you is we have the other -- others that make sure that the campus runs, I think that you were talking about, and so my question to you is, you know, we have the issue of librarians. They are an integral part of every campus and they -- depending on which campus it is they fall into different categories, whether they are considered faculty or staff. Sometimes they have some teaching component and obviously I think we can all agree that libraries and their function has a big part of the educational component.
Do you -- where do you see them falling into this particular Advisory Committee?
JAMES LoMONACO: Well librarians at the Connecticut State University are members of the AAUP and so -- I mean certainly I think that, across the board, you have -- you have value and use and -- and knowledge that's -- that's necessary to do an effective job in -- in providing teaching services to students.
I mean it's sort of a soup to nuts process. I have no problem with -- with including them. The AAUP would have to elect one I guess if elections are the -- are the approach we want to take but I certainly don't have any problem.
REP. SAWYER: You know one of the concerns I have is the -- now the discussions going -- that we'll be able to go across campus lines from campus to campus.
JAMES LoMONACO: Right.
REP. SAWYER: And I -- I'm a touch afraid that there won't be good communications between the campuses and so my question was you -- to you was -- I mentioned before could you envision a -- a large committee with every campus having at least one, perhaps two members, and so let's say 36 members just -- or 40 members of a large subcommittee and then from that subcommittee people could be elected then to the Faculty Advisory Committee?
JAMES LoMONACO: Yes because a great deal of the work that would go into advising the Board shouldn't come from a single individual but should come through subcommittee work where you develop the -- the response to the questions that are asked by the Board in terms of what -- what do you think about this. (Inaudible).
REP. SAWYER: And then we'd be pretty sure that the -- the information that would get back to each institution.
JAMES LoMONACO: Yes, yes as long as the Committee is representative of all the institutions. Of course, yes I do.
REP. SAWYER: Thank you for your input.
JAMES LoMONACO: Oh you're welcome. Thank you.
REP. WILLIS: Thank you.
Jay Hyland from Connecticut Police -- um there's actually two people here, Connecticut Fire -- three?
A VOICE: Yes (inaudible).
REP. WILLIS: Do -- do you want to come up together?
A VOICE: Sure if you want us to.
REP. WILLIS: And then you can get out of here faster.
A VOICE: Absolutely.
REP. WILLIS: Please make sure you identify yourself for the record when you speak.
WILLIAM BOUCHER: Good afternoon, Representative Willis. My name is William Boucher. I'm the president of the Connecticut Police and Fire union. We are the union that represents the police officers and fire fighters and other regulatory personnel who work for the State of Connecticut other than the state police.
With me today is Jason Hyland. He is an officer at the University of Connecticut and Art Fisher who is an officer at Southern Connecticut State University.
We're here today to speak on behalf of House Bill 5277, An Act Concerning Indemnification of University Police. The police officers who work at UConn and the other state universities are not covered by indemnification statutes that cover police officers and state troopers who work for the state other than these individuals.
I want to present to you some information. The police officers at the state universities and at UConn receive their powers from Section 10a-142 of the Connecticut General Statutes and which establishes the police forces at those facilities. And under that Statute it says they have the same duties, responsibilities and authorities under Section 7-281, 14-8, 54-1f and 54-33 and Title 53 as members of a duly organized local police department.
Section 7-294a of the General Statutes states that a law enforcement unit is any agency, organization or department of the state whose primary function includes enforcement of criminal laws, protection of life, property or the prevention and destruction or investigation of crime. It further states that a police officer is a member of a law enforcement unit who performs police duties.
The job descriptions provided by DAS for these -- for these police officers states that in a state agency, college, university or airport facilities this class is accountable for the protection, safety and security of individuals and property with full police powers and responsibilities for law enforcement.
The police officers at the state universities and colleges receive the same training as any other police officer in the State of Connecticut. They go to the police academy in Meriden for 22 weeks of academy training and they're subject to 14 weeks or 560 hours of field training conducted by certified field training officers and then are required to maintain 60 hours of post in-service training on a three year cycle.
Currently Section 29-8a of the Connecticut General Statutes provides indemnification for all police officers except these. That statute says state shall protect and save harmless any state policeman from financial loss or expense, including legal fees, provided such state policeman, at the time of acts is acting as a result of alleged discharge of his duties within the scope of his employment under the direction of a superior officer.
Section 29-8a of the General Statutes further states that as used in this section, state policeman includes a member of the state police office or of the state capitol police or any person appointed under Section 29-18 as a special policeman for state buildings and grounds.
Due to the fact that the police officers who are employed at the state universities derive their powers from Connecticut General Statute 10a-142 and not 29-18 as most other police officers employed by the State of Connecticut are, the police officers at these institutions are not provided the same indemnity protection as the other officers.
Currently police officers who work for the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Department of Revenue Services, State Capitol legislative office buildings, Division of Special Revenue, Division of Families and Children, Public Safety and community colleges are all covered by Connecticut General Statute 29-8a.
What we are asking is that you provide the same indemnification to the police officers at UConn, UConn Health Center and the state universities. Thank you very much.
REP. WILLIS: Thank you Bill. A quick question. How did this happen or -- or why? How did you get --
WILLIAM BOUCHER: I -- I can't -- I can't tell you why but what happened was a long time ago when the -- UConn and the state universities were first granted police officer status, their -- their powers were derived in the education section of the General Statutes, Higher Education section, which is -- obviously you're familiar with Title 10 and so their powers came under that.
Most of the other powers for police officers in the state come under the Title 29 which is the -- the powers come from the state police commissioner. So that's filtered down through them. And all the statutes that have to do with police protection and indemnity come under that section.
So all those other police officers, like the guys at the airport, the guys who work at DEMAS -- police officers at DEMAS -- even the community colleges which is interesting because the community colleges are -- get their -- they are considered special police officers for state property and buildings so they are covered by the indemnification because they get their powers under Title 29, unlike the state universities and UConn which get their power from a different state.
So it's really a -- it's the way the powers have flowed and it doesn't make sense. Why would the community college police officers be covered but the state universities police officers not be covered. It's just kind of a strange way the powers were -- were set up.
REP. WILLIS: And how -- how come it took you so long to get here?
WILLIAM BOUCHER: Well actually we -- we've tried for this in the past but it hasn't gone through. It's probably been a few years since we've --
REP. WILLIS: (Inaudible) committee?
WILLIAM BOUCHER: Yes.
REP. WILLIS: In the last ten years?
WILLIAM BOUCHER: Well probably six -- eight years ago. I -- I can't remember exactly when.
REP. WILLIS: I don't remember this. Just seems like it -- it should have been a fix that was done awhile ago and anyway I hope no one got caught in not having this indemnification -- any of your officers.
Any other questions? Yes, Representative Sawyer.
REP. SAWYER: Thank you.
Have you run into this in other states that where the campus police are not indemnified?
WILLIAM BOUCHER: I haven't really done any research about other states. I do know that, you know, it varies from state to state. Some states, and even in this state, some universities have actual police officers who are empowered by the State of Connecticut. Some universities have private security forces working.
A VOICE: That'd be different.
WILLIAM BOUCHER: (Inaudible) you know there's a little difference depending upon -- even in this state, for example, Yale has police officers who are sworn in as police officers for the City of New Haven and go to the police academy with the City of New Haven police officers so they're actually sworn law enforcement officers. They have powers not only on Yale but also in the town of New Haven.
Whereas Trinity and Wesleyan have private security forces and they don't actually have less powers under the -- on the state statutes to arrest someone. So it's a little different depending upon on how it's set up.
REP. SAWYER: In -- in describing this maybe the two officers would like to -- to weigh in on this. In your experience, obviously you have full police training.
JASON HYLAND: Correct.
REP. SAWYER: As with any other police department and --and full disclosure. I do know Officer Hyland. He's one of Bolton's finest and grew up on -- on my street so --
A VOICE: (Inaudible).
REP. SAWYER: No he walked in and we made eye contact so it was --
JASON HYLAND: (Inaudible).
REP. SAWYER: It's been -- it's been a long time. Nice to see you.
JASON HYLAND: It has.
REP. SAWYER: And both of you. So my question to you -- let's -- let's go back a little bit. So your experience, your training is that of an officer of any other police department that -- it's -- but yet I know you because I have toured your -- the UConn facility and have had discussions there when I was with the UConn Parents Association.
Your training is exceptional because it is -- there's certain parts of it because you have to protect a special cohort of people. They are between the ages 18 and 22 just about and they wake up at ten o'clock at night.
JASON HYLAND: It's very specialized policing.
REP. SAWYER: And -- and their stress level, at different times of the year, is very, very high plus other specialty incidents that -- that you have to know about. In your experience -- now I happen to know that you have past experience at another university.
JASON HYLAND: Correct, I was -- I've been at UConn for ten years thereabouts. Prior to that I was at the University of Arizona police department in Tucson, Arizona for about two and a half. When I served out there the university officers there were indemnified under state statute as well so we -- we did enjoy the umbrella protections of -- of indemnification out there.
REP. SAWYER: Have either of you had the experience or have officers had the experience of in which suit has been brought against one of the officers and this has become an issue? Do you have a -- a -- some background?
JASON HYLAND: We did have -- we did have one -- two officers at one of our universities were charged criminally. Those charges were dismissed. When those charges were dismissed against them there was issue with the indemnification and they were originally told that they were not going to have their attorney's fees paid out. They ended up bringing it forward to the State's Attorney General who made a ruling. From what I understand they're ruling on it temporarily that they would be indemnified in that particular case.
But we -- we believe that if -- by putting it -- by codifying the statute the way that it protects other officers it would avert this for the unfortunate next -- next person that we hopefully don't have it happen to.
REP. SAWYER: Madam Chairman if I might ask our legal counsel a -- a quick question.
So if we are looking at the back of this proposal of 5277 and we're looking at the lines 16 through 18 where it talks about -- in which such special police officer is ultimately found not to have acted in a wonton or reckless or malicious manner, does that also count in the case -- if the case is dropped? Would they -- would their legal fees also be covered under that language?
We could -- let's -- let's just mark that down as one of the -- the questions for that section if we might, Madam Chairman.
WILLIAM BOUCHER: Representative Sawyer if I might. That language was language that we actually, for lack of a better word, stole from the current language that's on your books for the other police officers and state police for the State of Connecticut now.
REP. SAWYER: In Title 29?
WILLIAM BOUCHER: Yes, so that -- that basic -- is basically the same language as is currently on the statutes now. I don't know if that's helpful or not.
REP. SAWYER: That is very helpful but I do want to make sure that in the case where someone has incurred legal fees, and for some reason the case is dropped, that the officer isn't stuck with significant legal fees for no (inaudible).
WILLIAM BOUCHER: My understanding, based on the information that our attorneys provided for us, is that unless he is actually found guilty of the crime then his -- his fees should be paid for under this statute as opposed to -- there is currently a statute on the books for all state employees. It covers their fees but it's a little different. In that statute for state employees the state has to make a decision as to whether or not they're going to cover your fees or not. It's not assumed that they're covered unless you're found guilty.
So this is a -- that's why the indemnification clause for police officers is a little higher standard because of the nature of the work they do. They're thrust into situations that a normal person wouldn't necessarily go into in -- in dealing with criminal behavior.
So that's why the -- the wording -- if you look at -- there's a statute -- I think it's Statute 5-141a which covers all state employees. It covers judicial employees. That language is written a little bit differently than the language that covers a police officer because of the nature of the job that they do.
And -- and my understanding, based on what my legal counsel has informed me of, is that because the language is a little different for the police officers they actually have to be found guilty of doing something wrong, malicious, willfully not according to their job in order for them not to have their attorneys paid as opposed to a normal state employee where the state would say well we don't believe we should be covering your charges because we don't believe that you acted in the scope of your job rather than being proved that you didn't act within the scope of your job. So I believe that's the difference.
REP. SAWYER: Well I just thought of about 12 more questions in my head and -- and -- in the case -- and this is the very far reaching case -- but in the case where a police officer is arrested on his own time, because I believe that most officers are sworn and that's 24/7, but if they are -- but there's on duty and off duty time, but they could be called in at any time, if they are on -- if they're off duty and there's an arrest situation, are they covered then?
JASON HYLAND: If I may. My understanding of it would be that it's -- you would have to be -- in order for an indemnification to be triggered you would have to be acting with the full color of your authority as a police officer, not in terms of your personal conduct.
Where this would come about I would say if Art and I were, you know, walking around the mall and happen to see a fight break out and somebody pulled out a knife and we acted under the color of authority as police officers, not in a civilian jurisdiction that we are at, but we used our training. We had to apply some level of force to stop the situation and then somehow it escalated to criminal charges for an excessive force complaint against us because we could say that we were acting under the color of authority and our duty to act as police officers that should trigger the indemnification.
REP. SAWYER: Okay.
JASON HYLAND: However if it's just somebody's off duty, you know, somebody's off duty misconduct like they shoplifted then there's no valid governmental purpose for that and they wouldn't be indemnified.
REP. SAWYER: Very good.
Bill how many people would this cover?
WILLIAM BOUCHER: Between all the state universities and UConn, you're probably talking about 200 I would say.
JASON HYLAND: (Inaudible).
REP. SAWYER: So that's a significant amount of people that fall in this loophole.
WILLIAM BOUCHER: Yes.
REP. SAWYER: Thank you and thank you for your answers.
REP. WILLIS: Thank you.
Mr. Hyland did you want to add anything or are you --?
JASON HYLAND: If you have the prepared statement that's -- that's fine.
REP. WILLIS: Okay.
JASON HYLAND: (Inaudible).
REP. WILLIS: Thank you so much.
JASON HYLAND: Thank you.
REP. WILLIS: Steve Cohen.
Good afternoon, gentlemen. Nice to see you again.
STEVE COHEN: It's a pleasure, Chair Willis and other members of the Committee. Appreciate your time this afternoon. I am Steve Cohen. I'm president of the Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges. To my right is Bob Fernandez who is the political director of the Congress and he is also the director of financial aid at Quinebaug Valley Community College and I think you're familiar with him as well.
Just by way of quick introduction, the Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges, otherwise known as the 4C's, represents the professional staff and faculty of all 12 of our community colleges in Connecticut and our bargaining unit includes 800 full-time and 2,000 part-time teaching faculty and 800 full-time and 400 part-time professional administrators, counselors, librarians.
I'm here to talk to you very briefly about Senate Bill 42, An Act Concerning the Selection Process for Members of the Faculty Advisory Committee to the Board of Regents for Higher Education and the language of concern is in Section 1 which proposes limiting representation to teaching faculty.
Our professional staff members in the 4C's are creative and are professional and they have something to offer. And in fact two weeks ago when the Committee was entertaining testimony concerning Bill 5030, I testified as part of a virtual conga line of teaching faculty so I have something to say about that bill. But it was the gentleman to my right, Bob Fernandez, in his capacity as director of financial aid, who brought forth the issue of the changes in Pell grant language and the timelines for Pell grants being limited now to six years.
That's the -- an example of the kind of expertise that our non-teaching professionals bring to the floor and all we ask is that those folks be allowed to be represented if they are selected and elected to serve. And that's the big concern for our membership and that's what we ask.
REP. WILLIS: Thank you.
STEVE COHEN: If I can respond to any questions I'd be happy to.
REP. WILLIS: Thank you. Thank you, Steve.
STEVE COHEN: Got it under three minutes.
REP. WILLIS: Wow that's not bad. You can tell you come here frequently.
STEVE COHEN: Um it's getting to be a habit.
REP. WILLIS: Well always (inaudible) to see you.
STEVE COHEN: Thank you. Appreciate the time.
DENNIS BOGUSKY: Good afternoon, Representative Willis, members of the Committee.
I'm Dennis Bogusky. I'm the president of the Federation of Technical College Teaches, the other professional union at the community technical colleges. I'm one of the people that was instrumental in architecting the election that is one of the -- of the Board of Regents Advisory Committee so I'm here to speak to Senate Bill 42.
We have some concerns. I came here thinking that my only concern was the folks that were excluded from the committee, professional staff members, the librarians, the counselors, the people that do direct services for students.
And some of the testimony I've heard here today seems to amplify that. I -- I one believe in inclusion and not exclusion. And that leads me to my second point of how we got to the election and you heard things here today that suggested that there wasn't and there isn't great communication between the 12 institutions.
So how could, in a very short period of time, representatives become elected that were known to all 12 of those institutions? And I've heard some things from you, as a Committee, saying maybe we need to expand the population to a larger committee and then shrink down to a voting committee and have them elected.
And they're all very good ideas. But one of the things that we did when we heard that we had three people is we got together as the unions and we gave you nine people. We gave you three reps and we gave you two alternates for each of those reps. In fact one of those reps is the current co-chair -- the temporary co-chair. That's from my group.
That's an individual from Three Rivers Community College. He's the chair of the nuclear engineering department. He was the chair of the standing committee for the board of governors so he's had some experience in this.
We also, as I said, we also gave you some other people. Why? To expand the field, to -- to give some inclusion here and what I'd like to ask from you as a Committee is to consider all of the things that you've heard here today.
I don't think I have a prescription for success but we want to see success with this committee. We want to see this committee do something and have an integral role -- a very important role in the direction -- perhaps in the direction of academics and the things that involve students -- student success in the bigger system here, the system of a state university with community colleges and four year institutions.
And maybe that committee needs to be a larger committee. Maybe it needs to be a larger committee. Maybe it should be, as I think Barbara Richards suggested here, a representative from each of the campuses and then let them figure out how to do the voting, but why exclude.
And then the second thing is a uniform process of election that does assure for fair election and participation. Going back to the history, the standing committee -- standing advisory committee to the Board of Governors had carve outs. It -- it gave -- it gave a representative to the technical college faculty. It gave a representative to the community college folks. It carved those things out.
And again, not to try to control anything but to try to get some participation and to move things forward, this is what we arrived at. We divided up the -- the reps and the -- and the alternates so there's three from each of the unions, that's the AFSCME professional group, that's the AFT group which is mine, and that's the 4C's group.
So I would urge you to reconsider the bill as it's written taking into consideration the kind of things that you've heard here today, key things, inclusion and then a process that's uniform but yes a process that's going to work.
Thank you very much.
REP. WILLIS: Thank you.
Questions or comments? No?
Thank you very much.
DENNIS BOGUSKY: I get off easy, huh?
REP. WILLIS: You do.
If you want to submit comments in -- oh you -- you will do that, okay. Thank you.
I guess -- is anyone out there who would -- who did not sign up and would like to testify?
A VOICE: (Inaudible).
REP. WILLIS: That's all right. Anyone out in the audience who would like to testify and not sign up? Third time, anyone who would like to testify and hasn't signed up is -- is free to come forward.
Hearing none, I move that this meeting be closed.