Free Community College tuition plan for CT residents to roll out for fall 2020 semester

Connecticut

(WTNH) — The Connecticut State College and University system is moving ahead with a free tuition Community College program starting with next fall’s semester. Even though the funding is not actually in place, the head of CSCU says they’re making this promise.

There are about 50,000 in-state students currently enrolled at the state’s 12 community college campuses, but the number is declining.

Many may be discouraged from applying because of the nearly $5,000 a-year tuition.

That’s one of the reasons the Board of Regents on Thursday approved the rollout of the “Pledge to Advance Connecticut” — free community college program for Connecticut residents called simply PACT. It is set to roll out for the Fall 2020 semester.

System President Mark Ojakian saying the program is a pledge “to support the state’s advancement with productive citizens and skilled workers prepared to fill the jobs of the 21st century economy.”

To apply, you must be a Connecticut resident, a full-time, first-time community college student, complete all available federal and institutional financial aid applications, and apply and register by July 15 of next year.

The announcement was made at East Hartford High School where several students said they were ready to apply.

East Hartford High School senior James Judkins sharing that he’s planning to go to college for culinary or business, and that it would help financially to do it through this new program.

Another East Hartford High senior, Phoenix Echevarria, expressing the same sentiment: “It’ll really be a big help to my family because my grandmother works as a hairdresser and that doesn’t really get a lot of money coming in.”

The program is estimated to cost at least $6 million per year. The legislation creating the program calls for profits from Internet lottery sales to pay for it. But I-Lottery sales have not yet been authorized.

The youngest member of the General Assembly, 23-year-old Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport), helped push this through and says the Governor has promised to make budget adjustments to get it started.

“The Governor has backup plans in case I-Lottery doesn’t work, but we are confident that over five years I-Lottery would bring in over $60 million. That is more than enough to cover the cost of this program.”

– Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport)

You can get complete details on the “Pledge to Advance Connecticut” plan by visiting ct.edu/pact.

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