Independent Colleges Produce Majority of Graduates for State's Key Industries

The 16 institutions of higher education in Connecticut that are members of the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges are playing a pivotal role in producing graduates with expertise in precisely the industry clusters that Connecticut businesses view as the fields most likely to propel economic growth in  the state.

In one critical field, Computer & Information Sciences, three-quarters of the degrees granted in the state aCCIC chartre awarded by the independent institutions.  And in seven key industry clusters – essential to building the state’s economic strength and job opportunities – the independent institutions award more than half of the degrees granted by colleges and universities in the state.

By offering strong academic programs – and attracting top students – the independent colleges and universities are advancing a focus on industry areas with the greatest economic growth potential in Connecticut.

The percent of statewide industry cluster degrees awarded by Connecticut independent colleges in 2012:

  • Computer & Information Sciences & Support Services, 75%
  • Health Professions & Related Programs, 62%
  • Physical Sciences, 59%
  • Engineering Technology & Related Fields, 55%
  • Engineering, 53%
  • Biological& Biomedical Sciences, 53%
  • Business Management, Marketing & Related Fields, 52%

The 16 member institutions of CCIC are Albertus Magnus College, Connecticut College, Fairfield University, Goodwin College, Mitchell College, Quinnipiac University, Rensselaer University, Sacred Heart University, St. Vincent’s College, Trinity College, University of Bridgeport, University of Hartford, University of New Haven, University of Saint Joseph, Wesleyan University, and Yale University.

Independent institutions award 46 percent of all degrees granted in Connecticut, and enroll 30 percent of all college students statewide, including 45 percent of all minority students enrolled at four-year institutions in the state, according to a study last year by the Institute for Research & Public Service.

The study also found that Connecticut’s private not-for-profit college and university sector, on the state economy in 2010, had a total impact of $6.19 billion in sales of goods and services.  In the aggregate, the independent sector of higher education is Connecticut's third largest employer, with only the State itself and United Technologies employing larger workforces.

Veterans Education and Career Training Gains New Focus in Connecticut

With veterans returning from active duty in increasing numbers and seeking to pursue higher education or achieve a place in the workforce, efforts are underway in Connecticut to respond.

The Veterans Vocational Training Program (VVTP), is a new initiative of Hartford-based Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CPBN).  The program offers veterans,free of charge, two different programs of study.  Media Arts, which focuses on the Adobe programs Photoshop, Illustrator, and In-Design, is offered during the Fall 2013 semester, which begins on August 26.   The other program seeks to develop the talents of budding video producers and editors.

Both programs incluveteransde 90 hours of classroom instruction, professional portfolio development, and an additional 60 hours of hands-on learning. In addition, the VVTP helps potential employers connect with veterans seeking specific employment opportunities.

There will be an Open House for veterans to learn more about the program on July 18 at5:30 PM at CPBN, located at 1049 Asylum Avenue in Hartford.  Inquiries about the program can be directed to Major (ret) Tim Krusko, Program Manager, at 860-275-7337 or email  Questions can also be directed to CPBN’s Director of Education Services, Donna Sodipo at or 860.275.7337.  Individual tours of the facilities are also available.

The initiative has quickly developed a wide range of partners that will help CPBN provide veterans with a real-world education while increasing their employment opportunities. CPBN is also reaching out to colleges and universities for referrals of veterans who might benefit from the VVTP as a no-cost way to supplement or enhance their current media education experience through hands-on learning. The VTTP is not restricted to Connecticut residents.

The Fall 2013 semester starts August 26, 2013 and ends December 19, 2013.  The Spring semester will run January 13 through May 12, 2014.  The goal is to have 85 percent of program participants successfully employed after completing the program.

In a separate effort, the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges, which includes 16 higher education institutions in the state, recently held a one day, state-of-the-art training for over 100 campus participants from throughout Connecticut that focused on military culture and serving student veterans.

Offered by the Center for Deployment Psychology, the training was designed to increase competency in the concerns, challenges, culture and experience of service members and veterans attending college. Mental health professionals as well as non-clinical university staff specializing in student affairs, financial aid, disability services, housing, campus security and oveterans learning labthers attended.

The training covered:

·  Culture and Experience of Service Members & Veterans on Campus

·  The Deployment Cycle and its Impact on Students

·  Reintegration on Campus

·  Outreach Strategies and Group Exercise

·  Overview of Treatments for PTSD on Campus

The training was offered free of charge to every non-profit public and private college in Connecticut.  It funded by a grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation and was offered through a collaboration of the American Council on Education and the Center for Deployment Psychology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.  The event was part of an ongoing effort coordinated by CCIC “to help campus representatives learn best practices and gain an understanding of resources available to make the campus experience successful for those who made the commitment to protect and serve our country.”

The VTTP is made possible through the generous corporate sponsorship of organizations and businesses including the Wounded Warrior Project, Newman’s Own Foundation, Walmart Foundation, the SBM Charitable Foundation, Farmington Bank Community Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  Wounded Warrior Project awarded CPBN with a $250,000 grant for the economic empowerment of wounded warriors and their family members. CPBN is currently seeking additional grant programs to help grow the program beyond the first year and replicate it in other parts of the country.

The VVTP program is a component of CPBN’s soon-to-be-completed $3.5 million Learning Lab, which will also offer education programming aimed at Hartford public school students. CPBN will dedicate a state-of-the-art learning space to these initiatives, to include studios, sound rooms, classrooms, offices, and video production and media arts facilities.


Reductions in Financial Aid Would Harm CT Students in Independent Colleges

Leaders of the state’s independent colleges and universities are expressing concern about the impact on their students of proposed plans that would merge the state’s three financial aid programs into one and substantially reduce funding over the next four years. The proposal would restrict both the amount of funds that financial aid directors may award needy Connecticut students and to whom they may award the funds, points out Judith Greiman, president of Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges.  Because the revamped system would no longer considering the cost of attendance, students at private colleges would be disproportionately impacted.

The plan is part of Gov. Malloy’s budget proposal is now being considered by the legislature.  It consolidates the longstanding financial aid programs into a single Governor’s Scholarship Program.  University of Hartford President Walter Harrison said the plan “will begin, brick by brick, to dismantle the strong array of independent colleges and universities” in Connecticut.

“While we understand the difficult budget issues that continue to impact state services, we must point out that the three primary state-funded financial aid programs, CICS, CAPCS and Capitol Scholars, have been substantially cut in the past two budgets and in the FY 13 rescission,” Greiman told the legislature. “This comes at a time of historically high student need. Cutting need-based grant aid any further will only hurt Connecticut’s students and families.”

Chart1The proposal also shifts funding from the two need-based aid programs to a program that determines financial aid based on need and merit.  In addition, for the first time it would reduce the amount of grant funds available to students by using some of the money to pay for state agency administrative costs.

Discussing the students helped by the state grants, Martha Shouldis, President of St. Vincent’s College in Bridgeport, told the legislature’s Higher Education committee that almost one-half of nursing graduates in the state, for example, are educated at private colleges.   She pointed out that students are “not only educated here but have a record of gaining employment here in Connecticut – they are an important part of the state health care labor pool now and in the future.”

CCIC has highlighted the role of the 16 independent institutions on Connecticut.  The schools:

  • Enroll 31% of all college students statewide including 45% of four-year minority students.
  • Award 44% of all degrees granted in Connecticut in 2010-11, including 44% of all Bachelor’s, 64% of all Master’s and 58.5% of all Doctoral and 57% of all Professional degrees.
  • Award 57% of all degrees received by minority students (four-year and above).
  • Award 53-72% of four-year and above degrees given in key economic development cluster areas.
  • Provided almost $65 million annually in need-based institutional financial aid to Connecticut undergraduates in 2010-11.map_2012

The CCIC institutions include Albertus Magnus College, Connecticut College, Fairfield University, Goodwin College, Mitchell College, Quinnipiac University, Rensselaer at Hartford, Sacred Heart University, St. Vincent’s College, Trinity College, University of Bridgeport, University of New Haven, University of Hartford, University of Saint Joseph, Wesleyan University and Yale University.