Keeping Connecticut’s students at home

With a current budget deficit of over $300 million and a $650 million deficit looming for the next fiscal year, Connecticut Gov. John Rowland has proposed numerous cost-cutting measures, among them the elimination of state aid to Connecticut students who attend in-state universities with endowments of $100 million or more.

While most of the state’s budget cuts will likely require serious debate, this particular cut would run counter to goals once sacred to the state. Only a few years ago, Connecticut made a concerted effort to keep its graduating high school classes in the state, thus strengthening the chances that these students will remain in Connecticut after college.

The long-term effects of Rowland’s decision could eventually stunt the state’s ability to keep local students in Connecticut, weakening the quality of education for both residents and those coming only for school. And with more students potentially departing the state to attend college and start a life elsewhere, Connecticut could lose potential key contributors to its economy, which undoubtedly needs as many spenders as possible.

It is impossible to avoid budget cuts in today’s time of economic decline, but compromising ideals and goals will not in the long run solve the problem. The governor obviously recognized the need to keep Connecticut residents in state before, and he should not forego those efforts now.

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