UConn Faces Growing Competition Amid Budget Cuts (Hartford Courant)

uconn sign on storrs campus
Students walking near the UConn entrance sign along route 195 and North Eagleville Road onOct. 10, 2014. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

UConn broke into the top 20 public research universities at No. 19, shortly after President Susan Herbst arrived in 2011, and kept that ranking except for a slip to 21 in 2012. Now, as UConn copes with budget cuts that affect the university’s ability to provide scholarships and hire faculty and staff, Herbst is bracing for a possible dip in the university’s ranking by U.S. News & World Report early next month.

But a recent $40.6 million cut in its state appropriation is pushing Herbst and other UConn leaders to reconsider plans for the future.

Small changes in the rankings are hard to predict, but “we can slip far, and with lightning speed, if we are not adequately funded,” Herbst said. “This fight will demand more support, philanthropy, and strong leadership from the most talented leaders and faculty, which we risk losing.”

Herbst noted that scholarships are the “number one priority” for UConn’s fundraising arm, the UConn Foundation, but even with a “laser-like focus on that by me and the foundation, it doesn’t come close the kind of financial aid we need.”

Josh Newton, president and chief executive officer of the UConn Foundation said the need for scholarship money is much greater — raising several hundred million dollars would be better.

“You can’t fill that bucket fast enough,” he said. “The need for scholarships is significant.”