Over the past few years, the University of Connecticut’s retention and graduation rates have been holding steadily at record high numbers. Just this past year, students who began their college career in 2016 had a rate of 94 percent retention, an extremely high number that has only been reached one other time in 2012. This fact and the rising proportion of UConn students who complete their degrees every year are only some of the reasons that the university has climbed in prestige over the past years. Hopefully, this upward trend will continue.
After the extreme amounts of uncertainty that plagued UConn students and faculty this semester in the form of proposed budget cuts, it is unfortunate to say that this continued improvement could be in jeopardy. UConn’s budget allows students access to the resources they need in order to succeed in their careers here, and it is clear from the numbers that this was proving beneficial to students. However, with massive cuts to the budget, like the ones we are expecting over the next few years, these stats may start to go downhill.
With $143 million being cut from the budget over the course of the next two years, it is safe to say that UConn is in a bit of trouble. Obviously this is not the end and students will still continue to succeed as they always have, but at what cost to the university and to the state?
While many are fixating on the fact that Connecticut needs to take care of our university, people are forgetting that this relationship is mutually beneficial. Obviously, UConn benefits from the location, the quality of students and the funds that the state provides, but the state also benefits from what UConn has to offer.
UConn provides Connecticut with many things: a highly rated health center, a world-renowned basketball program, an exceptional option for higher education, and thousands of bright individuals that graduate each year. Without many of these things, the state would suffer as a whole, just like how UConn will suffer without some of the things that the state provides for us. It is important to remember that this relationship goes both ways and is not just one side mooching off the other. Without this institution, Connecticut would be missing something, just as UConn will be without state support.
Obviously the budget cuts are coming and at this point we cannot do much to stop them. However, we must remember that while the support of the state is important, it is not gone due to failing funds. The state of Connecticut will always have to be there to support UConn, as we do the same for it. While things may look bleak right now, the state’s continued support, even at a smaller capacity, must continue to help UConn grow and thrive as a world-renowned institution.