Education in Connecticut
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), more than 120 institutions of higher education call the Constitution State home. These include:
- Public 4-year institutions: 6
- Public 2-year: 12
- Private 4-year, nonprofit: 15
- Private 2-year, nonprofit: 3
- Private 4-year, for-profit: 5
With this many options available in such a relatively small geographic area (the third smallest state in the U.S.), Connecticut is clearly a strong contender for prospective students whether they are interested in traditional academic majors or professional programs.
Based on numbers from the 2014 census, Connecticut had more than 3.5 million state residents. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates 1.6 million were “working age,” which means between the ages of 25 and 64. According to the Lumina Foundation, approximately 47.5 percent of working-age Connecticticuters hold at least a two-year degree, well above the national average of 39.4 percent. In 2011-2012, more than 49,000 students completed degrees or other awards in Connecticut at Title IX institutions, approximately 1.1 percent of the total in the nation.
According to a 2014 NCES report, federal financial aid-eligible colleges and universities in Connecticut granted 51,736 degrees and certificates to 49,913 graduating students in 2011-12. Among those students, 70 percent earned their degrees at four-year institutions and 15 percent earned two-year degrees. The remaining 12 percent–a total of 7,627 graduates–earned certificates from less-than-two-year institutions.
Here are some total undergraduate student enrollment numbers collected from the major public universities in Connecticut, current as of Fall 2013:
- Central Connecticut State University: 9,771
- Eastern Connecticut State University: 5,179
- Southern Connecticut State University: 8,257
- Western Connecticut State University: 5,492
The most recent data provided by the State of Connecticut Office of Higher Education indicates the state had nearly 200,000 students enrolled in post-secondary schools in the 2013 academic year. Of these, more than 109,000 were attending public colleges and universities and more than 78,000 were attending degree-granting independent colleges and universities. Of undergraduate students, 59 percent were enrolled full time and 41 percent were enrolled part-time. According to the NCES, there were an additional 36,000+ grad students in Louisiana.
Online education in Connecticut
As recently as a decade ago, online education was not especially well-regarded. Taking classes online was not generally considered as good as traditional in-person postsecondary education. However, improvements in online delivery have led to educational innovations like massive open online courses (MOOCs). The ease with which course content can be delivered digitally has made online education economically feasible for more students.
Even traditional campuses in Connecticut offer hybrid and fully online options, both for specific courses as well as entire programs and degrees. As a result, students can achieve their educational goals even if they don’t live near the college, university or vocational school in Connecticut they would like to attend. Even students who live outside the state can expand their educational horizons and attend Connecticut-based schools if they determine that is the best fit for their educational needs and goals.
Numerous Connecticut colleges and universities have been recognized by national ranking agencies for certain programs in their online catalog. Here are a few of the well-regarded online degrees offered by Connecticut colleges and universities, alongside their national rank as calculated by U.S. News and World Report:
- University of New Haven
- Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs (2015): No. 28
- University of Connecticut
- Best Online Graduate Business Programs (Excluding MBA) (2015): No.3
- University of Bridgeport
- Best Online Bachelor’s Programs (2015): No. 68
- Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs (2015): No. 13
- Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs (2015): No. 48
- Sacred Heart University
- Best Online Bachelor’s Programs (2015): No. 87
- Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs (2015): No. 70
- Quinnipiac University
- Best Online MBA Programs (2015): No. 47
- Post University
- Best Online Bachelor’s Programs (2015): No. 119
- Best Online MBA Programs (2015): No. 136
- Best Online Graduate Education Programs (2015): No. 174
- Charter Oak State College
- Best Online Bachelor’s Programs (2015): No. 90
Nearly 25 percent of all post-secondary students in the U.S. were taking online courses by 2008. That trend has continued since, and by 2012 more than 7.1 million students in the nation were taking at least one post-secondary course online. In Connecticut, more than 14,000 students were enrolled exclusively in distance education courses. An additional 15,000 were enrolled in at least one distance education course. That’s approximately 13.8 percent of all post-secondary students in the state at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (ConnSCU), an organization sponsored by the Connecticut Board of Regents, provides a gateway to Connecticut public higher education institutions that offer online and hybrid degree programs and courses in the Connecticut State system. Its goal is to increase instructional access to the online courses and programs offered by institutions state-wide.
Top jobs and careers in Connecticut
Here’s a table of some of the top careers in Connecticut, along with information about each and some degrees that can help job candidates in each field stand out from the crowd:
|Occupation||Top regions||Why it’s hot||Necessary skills||Relevant degrees|
|Office and Administrative Support||Densest concentration in Hartford and New Haven but opportunity is statewide||The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that this occupational category pays an annual mean wage of $40,650 in Connecticut.||Writing, active listening, reading comprehension, speaking, time management, service orientation, critical thinking, judgment and decision making||Individuals aiming to become more competitive for office and administrative support positions may want to obtain at least an associate’s level degree. Persons with ambitions to work in more specialized positions or even supervisory roles within this occupational category may be interested in earning a bachelor’s degree or relevant additional certification.|
Relevant office and administrative support specializations include areas like accounting, business administration, or communications.
|Sales and Related Occupations||Hartford||The Constitution State is a densely populated state and has many careers in this occupational category necessary to provide goods and services to this group.||Persuasion, negotiation, social perceptiveness, critical thinking, reading comprehension, writing, active listening and learning, judgment and decision making||According to the BLS, sales engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field. Depending on the industry these workers may also have a degree in the sciences, for example, chemistry. Sales experience or training may also be beneficial for those interested in these types of positions.|
|Education, training, and library occupations||Hartford||Although Connecticut is a small state, it’s a densely populated one. With so many learners of all ages from pre-K to postsecondary, educators are in demand in the Constitution State.||Instructing, speaking, learning strategies, active listening, active learning, monitoring, social perceptiveness, critical thinking, judgment and decision making, reading comprehension.||According to the BLS, Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree as well as a state-issued certification or license. Some states prefer or require a double major in elementary education as well as a subject area like math or science.|
|Healthcare practitioners||Hartford, though opportunities are statewide.||Healthcare practitioners cover a wide range of possible careers, including everything from family and general practitioners to chiropractors and physician assistants. The passage of the Affordable Care Act has led to an expansion in the availability of health insurance, and thus increased demand for providers of healthcare services.||Active learning, active listening, critical thinking, reading comprehension, social perceptiveness, speaking, complex problem solving, judgment and decision making, monitoring, science, medical terminology, technical familiarity with medical devices||Most jobs in this occupational category require specialized training and formal postsecondary education. For example, physician assistants generally need a master’s degree from an accredited institution. Relevant degrees would require coursework in areas such as pathology, human anatomy, physiology, clinical medicine, pharmacology, physical diagnosis and medical ethics. Many positions in healthcare require individuals to receive a certification or be licensed.|
|Transportation and material moving occupations||Statewide||Manufacturing is one of the largest industries in the state, although products are being manufactured efficiently and so there are not as many jobs available in that occupational category as one might expect. However, all those manufactured materials have to be shipped, and transportation and material moving occupations account for 89,130 jobs in the state.||Active listening, speaking, critical thinking, judgment and decision making, complex problem solving, monitoring, coordination, active learning, reading comprehension, time management||Air traffic controllers coordinate movement of air traffic to ensure that aircraft don’t get too close to one another. In a densely populated and busy transportation region like the northeast, this is especially important. Air traffic controllers must typically earn a 2- or 4-year degree specifically designed to prepare its students for a career in air traffic control.|
Other job categories of note in Connecticut include food preparation and serving related occupations; production occupation and management occupations.
Financial aid in Connecticut
Here’s a comparison of average tuition and fees costs in Connecticut in 2004-2005 and 2014-2015 by institution type, according to the College Board:
- Public 2-year in-state schools
- 2004-2005: $3,027
- 2014-2015: $3,866
- Public 4-year in-state schools
- 2004-2005: $7,970
- 2014-2015: $10,620
- Private 4-year nonprofit schools
- 2004-2005: $32,551
- 2014-2015: $40,017
Of course, prices may vary by individual institutions. This means that while a student may not have control over a particular institution’s tuition, there are a variety of factors that can potentially make education more affordable, including:
- Applying as an in-state resident
- Living close to campus to cut back on commute and parking costs
- Taking some or all coursework online
- Buying books and supplies used
- Having roommates or living at home while in school
- Working part-time or full-time while in school
Most students who enroll at colleges and universities in Connecticut will be asked to fill out the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), very early in their college career. The information recorded on your FAFSA is used by many different potential sources of student aid at both the state and federal level to determine student eligibility and financial need. In addition to FAFSA, Connecticut has a variety of state-level financial aid programs available. Full information is available at the State of Connecticut Office of Higher Education, but options include:
- Governor’s Scholarship
- CT Minority Teacher Incentive Grant/Weisman Teacher Scholarship
- English Language Learner Educator Incentive Program
- CHESLA Loan Program
- Veterans Benefits
Proof of state residency and other requirements may have to be met as proof of eligibility for state financial aid programs. In 2013-2014, Federal Direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans were being offered at an interest rate of 3.86 percent. Private student loans may also be available at a variety of interest rates. Generally, while private loans may currently offer lower interest rates than federal loans do, this may not always be the case. Additionally, federal student loans typically have a wider variety of repayment options and other benefits that may outweigh those offered by private lenders.
In addition to state or federal forms of financial aid, it’s important for prospective students to remember individual institutions may offer their own forms of financial aid. Not everyone is eligible for all forms of financial aid, but seeking out as many opportunities as possible may help students pay for an education that might otherwise be out of reach.
To find out more about some of the schools and programs available in Connecticut, be sure to check out the ones featured in our school listings below.
- “Connecticut, College Navigator,” National Center for Education Statistics, February 2015, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=CT
- “May 2013 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Louisiana,” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_la
- “A Stronger Nation Through Higher Education, An Annual Report from Lumina Foundation,” Lumina Foundation, April 2014, http://www.luminafoundation.org/files/resources/a-stronger-nation-through-higher-education-2014.pdf
- “Postsecondary Completers and Completions: 2011-12, Web Tables,” U.S. Department of Education, March 2014, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2014/2014033.pdf
- “Enrollment in Distance Education Courses, by State: Fall 2012, Web Tables,” U.S. Department of Education, June 2014, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2014/2014023.pdf
- “Stats & Facts,” Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, Fall 2013, http://www.ct.edu/about/stats
- “Fall 2014 CT College Headcount Enrollment,” State of Connecticut Office of Higher Education, 2014, http://www.ctohe.org/News/pdfs/2014/2014FallEnrollmentHeadcount.pdf
- “Online Education,” U.S. News & World Report, February 2015, http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education
- U.S. News & World Report, Online Programs; February 2015: “University of New Haven,” http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/university-of-new-haven-129941, “University of Connecticut,” http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/university-of-connecticut-129020, “University of Bridgeport,” http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/university-of-bridgeport-128744, “Sacred Heart University,” http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/sacred-heart-university-130253, “Quinnipiac University,” http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/quinnipiac-university-130226, “Post University,” http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/post-university-130183, “Charter Oak State College,” http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/charter-oak-state-college-128780
- “Academic Programs,” Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, February 2015, http://www.ct.edu/academics/programs
- “Administrative Services Managers, Occupational Employment and Wages,” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes113011
- “Administrative Services Managers,” Occupational Information Network, February 2015, http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/11-3011.00
- “Sales Engineers,” Occupational Information Network, February 2015, http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/41-9031.00
- “Sales Engineers, Occupational Employment and Wages,” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/sales-engineers
- “Elementary School Teachers (except special education), Occupational Employment and Wages,” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers
- “Elementary School Teachers (except special education), Occupational Employment and Wages,” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes113011
- “Physician assistants, Occupational Employment and Wages,” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291071
- “Physician assistants,” Occupational Information Network, February 2015, http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-1071.00
- “Airtraffic controllers,” Occupational Information Network, February 2015, http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/53-2021.00
- “Air traffic controllers, Occupational Outlook Handbook,” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/air-traffic-controllers
- “Trends in Higher Education, Tuition and Fees by Sector and State over Time,” The College Board, 2014-2015, http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/tuition-fees-sector-state-time
- “Student Financial Aid,” State of Connecticut Office of Higher Education, February 2015, http://www.ctohe.org/sfa/