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Connecticut governor Ned Lamont and leaders of the state’s higher education institutions reached a deal Monday to shore up higher education funding in the budget for fiscal year 2024.

Under the new proposed budget, the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system would receive over $1.1 billion for fiscal year 2024, $50 million more than the budget put forth by the state appropriations committee in April; funding for FY25 would remain at roughly $910 million. The University of Connecticut—the state flagship, which is not part of CSCU—would receive $552 million for FY24, a boost of about $30 million over the appropriations proposal and $100 million over Lamont’s first proposal in February.

The deal was reached a little over a month after CSCU leaders warned of “devastating cuts” to the system’s 17 two- and four-year institutions if the earlier budget were to pass. 

UConn had its own budget skirmish with lawmakers this winter. After balking at an initial budget proposal from Lamont, UConn president Radenka Maric threatened to pull out of a deal with the XL Center, a state-owned sports arena in Hartford, taking the newly minted NCAA Division I men’s basketball champions with them. 

At the heart of the budget fight in Connecticut is a crisis resulting from the end of federal COVID-19 relief money. Higher ed leaders believe the state should step in to fill gaps left by dried-up relief funds, while Lamont and state lawmakers have repeatedly expressed frustration with institutions’ reticence to make what they feel are necessary cuts for sustainability.

“The reality is we want to support higher ed, but there does become a question of, how much do they need?” Connecticut House Speaker Matt Ritter said at a press conference Monday. “There is not a limitless amount of money in the state budget.”

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