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State Senator

James Maroney

Representing Milford, Orange, West Haven and Woodbridge

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Maroney’s Bills to Make College More Affordable Advance in Committee

Yesterday, (January 31) two of State Senator James Maroney’s (D-Milford) bills regarding apprenticeship programs and expanding the Roberta B. Willis Scholarship Program advanced in the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee.

Apprenticeship Pathways to a Bachelor’s Degree

Senate Bill No. 607, “an act concerning apprenticeship pathways to earning a bachelor’s degree,” was voted unanimously to be reserved for the matter of a public hearing. The public hearing will be scheduled at a later date. The bill calls for Title 10a of the general statues to be amended to provide incentives to employers and institutions of higher education to establish nontraditional pathways to earning a bachelor’s degree which incorporates apprenticeships in addition to coursework.

“Getting real-world experience that will assist a student in obtaining their Bachelor’s Degree will build their contacts in their field of study, making it easier to find work in Connecticut after college. It will also build their confidence in their ability to do the job they are studying in the classroom,” said Sen. Maroney. “Too many students are graduating from college with substantial student loan debt. This is a way for a student to earn a degree while working, without accruing any debt.”

Foundation for the Roberta B. Willis Scholarship Program

The Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee voted to develop formal language for Senate Bill No. 746, “an act establishing a foundation to receive donations for the Roberta B. Willis Scholarship Program.”

The bill will amend title 10a of the general statutes to establish a foundation for the purpose of collecting donations from businesses and individuals for the Roberta B. Willis Scholarship Program. Senate Bill No. 746 also would amend chapter 208 of the general statutes to allow a 50 percent tax credit to businesses that donate to the foundation, capping tax credits at $27 million.

“Connecticut has among the highest student loan debt per capita in the country,” said Sen. Maroney. “We need to find creative ways to expand access to higher education for all students.”

The Roberta B. Willis Scholarship is a need-based grant program with 31 participating higher education institutions, including the University of Connecticut, the University of New Haven, Quinnipiac University and Gateway Community College. Priority for the Roberta B. Willis Scholarship is given to individuals who are least able to afford college expenses.

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