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Sound Bites: High-tuition Connecticut colleges have low graduation rates

University of Bridgeport was found to have a consistent six-year degree completion rate below 50%
University of Bridgeport was found to have a consistent six-year degree completion rate below 50%.

Good morning. Connecticut’s state colleges with higher tuitions have lower degree completion rates among low-income students, according to an Education Reform Now CT report

University of Bridgeport was found to have a consistent six-year completion rate below 50%. Central Connecticut State University, Southern Connecticut State University and the University of Bridgeport all had a consistent six-year completion rate at or below 50% for students of color. Fifteen four-year state colleges in Connecticut charged low-income students a higher out-of-pocket tuition price than the average cost in the U.S. 

The group recommends the state provide higher levels of funding at public universities to make more resources available and provide improved student services to address racial disparities. 

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing:

Democrats plan to expel criminal Rep. George Santos from the GOP-led House. Santos (R-NY) was charged last week with wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making materially false statements to the House of Representatives. Democrats introduced a privileged resolution to prevent Republican colleagues from circumventing Santos’ expulsion.

Over 1,700 Connecticut health care home providers plan to strike. The providers have notified six nonprofit agencies that serve people with developmental disabilities they plan to walk out on May 24. The New England Healthcare Employees Union SEIU 1199NE seeks living wages, affordable health insurance and funding for retirement. The union represents over 25,000 caregivers in Connecticut and 4,000 in Rhode Island.

New York liquor store owners want to block a bill allowing grocery stores to sell wine. Several owners wrote in a letter to lawmakers that the legislation would cause many of their 3,700 stores to close and could lead to an increase of underage drinking. However, advocates including NYTimeForWine, cite 75% of residents want the bill to pass. New York is among 11 states that prevent the sale of wine in supermarkets including Connecticut.

Long Island State Park beaches are under enhanced shark monitoring. This is in response to a shark encounter in Florida last week and eight people bitten on Long Island in 2022. The expanded monitoring will include increasing the number of beach drones to 18, increasing park authorities and rescue staff to 33 trained operatives, purchasing two new jet skis for lifeguard patrols and creating additional buffer zones between swimming and surf fishing areas.

Connecticut launched an initiative to address teacher staff shortages. The $3 million Registered Apprenticeship Program seeks to reduce financial barriers in becoming an educator, provide funds to create “grow-your-own” programs designed to recruit and train future teachers from local communities, and fund a new statewide teacher and paraeducator recruitment campaign. As of March, there are about 1,300 teacher and 1,300 paraeducator vacancies in schools statewide.

A third of Connecticut high schoolers feel hopeless. One in 7 students say they have considered suicide, according to the latest report from the state Department of Public Health. The 2021Connecticut School Health Survey found 22% of students said they can get the help they need to improve their mental health. Over 1,700 students from 25 high schools were polled in this survey.

Purdue Pharma wants approval to pay its employees nearly $22 million in bonuses. The Stamford-based drugmaker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2019 to resolve most of the over 2,600 federal and state lawsuits against the company for the deceptive marketing of OxyContin. The bonuses would be distributed among 450 employees.

Connecticut Water Company will invest $60 million in drinking water infrastructure this year. Most infrastructure is between 40 and 100 years old. The utility company will work on 100 separate projects in 2023, including over 30 water main replacement projects, a new $12 million water treatment facility serving north-central Connecticut, and a 275 kW solar array in Clinton to power a shoreline work center and two electric vehicle charging stations. CWC serves 350,000 people in 60 towns across Connecticut.

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Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.