The latest on the University of Hartford

I’m relatively new to this site but have current knowledge of UHart. I have worked at a number of colleges. I know students who have attended and some who have transferred out. And I’m also acquainted with some of its administrators. Anyone who has questions I’m happy to share whatever information I have.

Under the leadership of new President Gregory Woodward, Hartford is in the midst of significant change that, if it turns the University around, holds promise for the future. But attending the university in the next several years may not be in your best interest.

The last president left UHart in poor financial shape with a deficit of $2 million, declining enrollments, poorly funded academic programs and many of the dorms and academic buildings in poor physical condition. President Woodward arrived in 2017-18 to find enrollments declining further and ended his first year with an $8 million deficit. Even after aggressive budget cuts Woodward recently stated publicly that the university is already running another $2 million budget deficit for the 2018-19 academic year, and they are trying to get a handle on the budget that’s apparently in disarray. He has many ambitious plans to develop new revenue generating programs such as a new bachelors in nursing and build new dorms, recreation and academic space. There are also some improvements being made in the business school’s building to help it catch up with competitors like Quinnipiac.

Some of UHart’s other challenges existed before the financial problems. Published information reports that only about 72% of freshmen return for sophomore year, so obviously many students arrive and quickly decide to transfer. More worrisome, only about 55% graduate in 6 years (Hartt and the Art School do better at over 65%). So if you want to be on a campus where the students are committed to the school and motivated to graduate UHart may not be the place for you, at least not at this point in time.

Also, in terms of reputation, the most recent rankings for UHart are concerning. US News ranks UHart 194 among national universities, down from 176. The WSJ/Times ranks UHart 274. And Forbes ranks it 488 out of 650 schools. Reputation matters most when it comes time to look for work, apply to graduate schools, etc. You can Google any of these rankings to compare UHart with other schools you’re considering.

Finally, I’ve learned that virtually every student admitted (they admit about 80% of applicants) is offered merit aid and that families seriously considering attendance, regardless of income, should push for at least 60% discount off the tuition (maybe even more for 2019-2020). That’s apparently the going rate and everything is negotiable at UHart, but the financial aid office understandably keeps quiet about that.

Hopefully this information helps anyone planning to apply to UHart. The school has some decent programs in music, health sciences and engineering, and dedicated staff, but UHart is apparently experiencing some very difficult times.

we live in Maryland. My daughter was admitted to UHART Art School with $25K in aid as honors/merit for upcoming year. Based on what you wrote, is it more important to consider college in state Maryland in which the art school may not be accredited but overall reputation is better. She also got into Temple and VCU Art schools but not much aid yet.

My child applied with no previous knowledge of the school because it had the intended very competitive major. After recently being accepted with a generous scholarship I also have found some unfavorable comments about the school. However, we will visit, go to admittted students day and have an open discussion about these concerns.

There is a lot posted here about schools but I think it is important to make an informed independent decision based on your students options and needs.

@popstaryo The question of institutional versus program reputation is a good one and can be meaningful. The schools you mention–VCU and Temple–both have significantly better national reputations than the University of Hartford. (You don’t name the school in Maryland.) The same is true for national Art School rankings, which are based on assessments of their MFA programs (rankings are not available for their undergrad programs). If you consult the U.S. News rankings of Best Art Schools at you’ll find VCU near the top at #2 and Temple also very well positioned at #15 (tied). Hartford’s Art School is ranked #198 of the 212 schools.

That said, as I implied above thanks to the competitive admissions process University of Hartford Art School students are generally more committed to attending the university and motivated to graduate than the student body in general. Also, keep in mind that in the arts (e.g. graphic design, photography, illustration, etc) when pursuing a career the individual’s portfolio may speak for their skills, abilities and creativity more so than the school’s reputation.

Finally, everything I’ve said ignores the reality of college costs, aid, etc. which, like most families, may count heavily in your final decision.

@Regretful My overview of the University of Hartford was intended to provide information about the current institutional circumstances, not suggest admitted students and their families dismiss that as a college option. You don’t name the “very competitive major” that interests your child so I can’t share any knowledge I might have about that. However, I do agree that to make an informed decision the more you can learn about a school from a wide range of sources the better (campus visits can be helpful). And of course costs, aid, etc. all will likely weigh heavily in the final calculus. Best of luck in navigating the process.

@WhileRomeBurned , their scholarship website mentions full tuition merit scholarship. Do you have any information regarding this? Is it possible to get a full ride here for a high stat, EFC 0 student?

@WhileRomeBurned : Interesting username given the topic. Thank you for sharing this information.

The empty dorm bed situation can be alleviated by requiring freshmen & sophomores, and possibly, juniors to live on campus. The issue may be the cost of any necessary repairs & updating needed.

@ManFromNeptune It is absolutely possible. In an effort to attract students Hartford is aggressive in offering “merit” based awards, regardless of a family’s EFC. Virtually every student is offered some merit award, even high income, high asset holding families, or students with very modest stats. As I mentioned above, for '18-19 Hartford awarded “typical” incoming freshmen a 60% discount (aka merit award or scholarship) off the tuition. For example, assuming tuition is $38,000 the 60% discount would be about $23,000 for a typical student net tuition of approx. $15,000.

As for a full ride, it depends on the student’s grades and test scores. You did not share the student’s stats so I can’t comment specifically. But high stats for Hartford is not the same as high stats for a selective institution (ie your student does not need to have a perfect 4.0 and 34+ on their ACT (1500 SAT).

One final observation. High achieving, motivated, intellectually curious students may not be comfortable at Hartford because there are relatively few peers who share those qualities. So while the full ride may be an important reason to choose Hartford, it may not be a good fit for your student.

@publisher Yes, you’re describing a “residency requirement” and Hartford actually instituted just that beginning '18-19. The problem for Hartford is that requiring freshman and sophomore year residency does not address what I believe is the underlying problem. After many years of deferred maintenance and fundamentally ignoring the updated housing/dining offered by competing institutions most of Hartford’s facilities are simply unacceptable to students and their parents. And it will be several years before updated dorms come online. (One exception is Hawk Hall, a newer freshman dorm but it can’t accommodate all freshman and then there’s still sophomore year.) So it remains to be seen if the new residency requirement will fill the empty beds or that prospective students who resent the requirement that they live in “sub-standard” housing will choose to attend elsewhere.

@WhileRomeBurned Unfortunately you sound like you have some bad blood with Hartford, trying to disguise it politely. My child attends Hartford and has had nothing less than an excellent experience. Wonderful professors who care, small class sizes, many opportunities to get involved on campus and access to internships and opportunities. The housing may not be the newest but it’s no worse than a lot of what we saw when we toured other universities. There are definitely better options, hawk hall and park river, if so desired. Many students actually CHOOSE to live in the more run down housing such as the village, over the nicer park river. The quality of the food service is also very good. It is quite inaccurate to say, and I paraphrase you, that bright, higher achieving students may not be comfortable there. Mine falls into that category and is quite comfortable, and as at any university finds people similar to her as well as some more high acheiveing and some not so bright.
So for those looking at Hartford as an option, know that there are many many great things and people who find it a very viable and positive university and definitely worth considering and attending!

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@handlmom I appreciate your perspective and can assure you I have no “bad blood” with Hartford. I do however have some factual knowledge of the institution that most CC visitors do not possess. I’m sure you can see that’s largely the information I’ve shared here.

The points you make about good professors, small classes and opportunities at Hartford are absolutely valid. I’m also glad to hear that your child is thriving there. Regarding high achieving students, I did not say they would not be comfortable there, only that they may not. And I base this observation on personal interactions with Hartford faculty and high achieving students there who have expressed dissatisfaction, some of whom elected to transfer. Nevertheless, every student is different and all families should seek the best fit for their child that’s within their financial means.

The institution in Maryland is Towson University Art School (we are residents of Maryland).

@popstaryo have you and your daughter make a decision of where she will attend?

I think either Temple/Tyler or VCU-waiting on financial aid .

As you all approach the May 1 deadline for declaring your intention to enroll and submitting your deposit, I’m writing to share further information about the University of Hartford. I have been in contact with students, faculty and administrators I know at UHart about quality of life and safety issues on the campus. As you may know last year there was the roommate harassment/racism instance widely reported in the news media, such as the New York TImes article below:

Today, a much more serious incident occurred on the campus.

Parents of prospective and enrolled students have contacted me expressing concern about allowing their children to enroll (or remain) at UHart. Some were especially disturbed, given these events, that the university’s newly instituted residency policy would require their children to live on an unsafe campus for two full years. I’ve observed that, while these serious instances may indicate a lack of emotional and psychological maturity among some students who attend UHart, crime exists on all college campuses (theft, drug and underage alcohol use, sexual assault, etc.) so there is never a guarantee of a totally safe college experience. And I’ve urged them to be diligent in assessing the campus environment/culture of any college they might attend.

This event occurred during admitted student day yesterday with over 1000 parents and prospective students on site. I was just leaving as the emergency vehicles came on campus as we were leaving early as my son had decided this school was not him.

Obviously this would be frightening and terribly unsettling for everyone on the campus, especially prospective students and their parents. Thankfully @regretful you and your family were not in any way hurt.

For those on this site the question now should be how does this affect my (or my student’s) decision to attend the University of Hartford? Or, for currently enrolled students, return next year?

Just heard from a UHart student who said that widespread on campus drug-use has led to many unreported and reported acts of violence. They provided this link (if the video doesn’t work properly just read the article):

My son is starting the BS/MSPO major (prosthetics and orthotics). Ethan is 24 years old. The site for choosing a residence hall requires that you give them 3 options. He is an older freshman so he doesn’t want to live in freshman housing and wants to live in a building with airconditioning. Admissions suggested he ask to live in Park River, this is his #1 choice. We don’t know what other residences we should include. Do you know anything about the village apts? E & F housing is also listed as upper-class housing but it looks really old.
I haven’t read anything that says to stay away from XXX or you must live in XXX. The website says the sooner you send in your requests the better chance you have of getting your top choice. I look forward to hearing from you.

@schultzkal13 This is not an area that I’m knowledgeable about so I can’t make a recommendation about particular buildings or complexes. I’m also not aware if any of the housing has air conditioning; I’m certain most do not. However, you are definitely right that some of the housing options are old and in poor condition.

If I were you and your son I’d be far more concerned about living at 24 years of age in undergraduate student housing. Even upper classmen/women are several years younger and, I’m going to guess, far less mature than your son. Has he given any thought to living off campus or in graduate student housing? (I know the university has a residency requirement but I’d say his circumstance is unique and worthy of an exemption, if that option was of interest to him.) All of that said, if he does proceed with plans to live on campus I think you/he should first make direct contact with someone in Residential Life. I would insist that his case be handled personally and his housing assignment be of your choosing, not based on whatever system they use to make assignments. Basically, I would explain that his situation is unique and they need to accommodate his preferences.

The first person I’d contact is Laura Hellwig, Assignments Manager in Res. Life, at or 860.768.7798. If she isn’t helpful or claims she doesn’t have the authority, ask her who does and for their contact information. Alternatively, further up the chain of command is Michael Malone, Assistant Vice President of Student Life, at or 860.768.7793.