Modest tuition hike a relative victory

It appears that some fiscal common sense will prevail at the University of Connecticut. Administrators are recommending that trustees approve "only" a 2.5 percent increase in tuition and fees to help close a $35 million budget gap.

Any tuition increase is unpalatable, but in this case 2.5 percent is better than the 5.7 percent hike forced on students last year. If approved, it will be the smallest increase in a series of tuition upticks since 2000. And students are still likely to feel the impact of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's $35 million cut to UConn's funding in other ways, such as increased fees for parking.

Education is becoming prohibitively expensive for many, and despite UConn's own claims of being a bargain, recent revelations suggest the university can do better.

The latest shock came in a Hartford Courant report pointing out that the university's two top-ranking police officials are not only earning exhorbitant salaries, but they've received scandalous raises as well. UConn's police chief, Robert Hudd, got almost a $29,000 raise in 2009, bringing his salary to $246,961. The man just below him, Maj. Ronald Blicher, got a slightly higher raise, almost $30,000, boosting his salary to $193,616.

That is inexcusable, particularly when students and their parents are asked year after year to ante up more for tuition. Chief Hudd makes more than New York City's police commissioner and almost $100,000 more than the chief of police in Hartford.

Those outrageous salaries suggest there are many other places to cut before substantially boosting tuition and fees.

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