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Advocacy

2023 Public Policy Priorities

As the CT General Assembly 2023 kicks off in early January, UConn Strong's team will review and highlight the myriad of proposals impacting higher education in general and UConn in particular.  We also are following health care and budget priorities that could impact the UConn Health Center.

In advance of the session, the legislature's non-partisan office of Legislative Research highlighted the following as possible key issues in the upcoming session:

 

Higher Education and Employment Advancement

 

College Enrollment and Retention

For the third year in a row, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center has reported that college and university enrollment declined in the 2022 fall semester. As of September 29, 2022, the center reports that although the decline in postsecondary enrollment has slowed to nearly prepandemic enrollment rates, institutions are still facing an approximate 4.2% decline in undergraduate enrollment since 2020. Last session, the legislature considered bills addressing access to postsecondary education that included student loan reimbursement for state students who graduated from a state university (sSB 250 (2022)) and increasing the number of child care centers on or near each regional community-technical college and state university campus (sHB 5115 (2022)). The legislature may continue to explore barriers to enrollment and retention in the upcoming session.

Related OLR Reports:

2021-R-0044, Student Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Programs

2020-R-0178, Issue Brief: Open Educational Resources

Workforce Development

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce states that businesses added 3.8 million jobs in 2021, but workforce participation remains below pre-pandemic levels. Many industries are reporting a high number of job openings, including in education, health care, and manufacturing. According to the Connecticut Business and Industry Association’s 2022 Survey of Businesses, 44% say a lack of skilled applicants is their greatest obstacle to growth. In 2023, the legislature may consider proposals toward developing the state’s workforce to meet the needs of these in-demand sectors. 

Related OLR Report:

2020-R-0335, Student Loan Forgiveness Programs for Health Care Professionals

Public Health

Health Care Workforce

In Connecticut and nationally, there have been increasing challenges related to staffing within the health care sector, across various professions (e.g., nursing) and specialties (e.g., childhood behavioral health). In recent years, the General Assembly has taken various measures on this issue, such as establishing a new loan reimbursement program for eligible providers (PA 22-118, § 79) and a grant program for hiring and retaining child and adolescent psychiatrists (PA 22-47, § 38). There will likely be additional proposals in 2023 on ways to attract and retain more health care providers in needed fields.

Recent Past

Since our founding in 2018, UConn Strong has worked with the Executive Branch and Connecticut General Assembly on issues critical to UConn's ability to thrive as an elite public university.  While most of our work has centered around the state budget and Connecticut's continued unfunded pension liabilities, other successes include the following:

UConn Foundation Fundraising

PA 21-19 was signed into law by Governor Lamont on 5/26/21.  This law is fundamental to the UConn Foundation's efforts to raise funds in support of UConn.  Click on the link below for more details.

S.B. No. 996 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING FUNDRAISING BY THE FOUNDATION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT.

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