Fairfield President Testifies at Legislative Hearing
With a state budget deficit looming, Governor Dannel Malloy and members of the Connecticut General Assembly have proposed a number of items that would impact private colleges throughout Connecticut. Senior leadership from Fairfield University has provided testimony in opposition to two of the proposals.
On Wednesday, March 11, Father Jeffrey von Arx, S.J., President, testified against House Bill 6965, a bill that would require private colleges to pay taxes on real and personal property purchased after 2016. In addition to taxes on real estate purchases, this would also include taxes on the purchase of computers, scientific equipment, furniture and other items.
In voicing opposition to the proposed legislation, Father von Arx expressed concern that this legislation would only add to the already challenging financial pressures that we are facing as institutions of higher education. “This legislation adds another layer of expense that must be passed on to our students. It is tantamount to a reduction in financial support for students in need, putting higher education outside their reach when the state’s economic future is contingent on an increasingly educated workforce,” he said.
Father von Arx also expressed a concern that the bill would “greatly impact the institution’s ability to provide educational resources in the classroom — not just routine equipment replacement but would also hamper efforts to enhance academic facilities and educational experiences that are dedicated to preparing our future workforce.”
In addition to Father von Arx’ appearance in Hartford on Wednesday, earlier in the month, Mike Trafecante, Fairfield’s Vice President for Finance, and Treasurer, testified in opposition to H.B. 6845 that proposes beginning fiscal 2016 to exclude from the Governor’s Scholarship Program students who reside in Connecticut and elect to attend private colleges in the state.
During his testimony, Mr. Trafecante said, “It is important to bear in mind that the funding we are discussing today is used to support students from middle and low-income families, and not institutions. At Fairfield, accessibility to higher education is a strategic priority and annually we undertake efforts to operate more efficiently and keep tuition increases in check.”