December 19, 2019

Senator Haskell Joins CSCU Leaders at Launch of Pledge to Advance Connecticut

EAST HARTFORD – Today, State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) joined Connecticut State Colleges and Universities leaders including CSCU President Mark Ojakian and lawmakers including Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee co-chair Representative Gregg Haddad (D-Mansfield) as they officially launched PACT, or the Pledge to Advance Connecticut, Connecticut’s program providing free community college to students. PACT, part of the 2019-2020 biennial budget and adopted as policy by the Board of Regents for Higher Education today, will make Connecticut’s 12 community colleges tuition and fee-free for thousands of students.

“PACT is the culmination of so much hard work, and I’m so proud that it’s now an official promise made to Connecticut’s future students,” said Sen. Haskell. “As college education costs continue to rise, we need to protect our students from financial harm and provide businesses with the skilled workforce they need to succeed. This is an incredible resource that will create a new educational pathway and opportunity for so many students. I’m grateful to my colleagues in the legislature and in the CSCU system for making affordable higher education a reality for thousands of students.”

“PACT is a powerful message to potential students in Connecticut that education is attainable—and that we are investing in the future of our state,” said President Ojakian. “PACT will make access to Connecticut’s community college system even more affordable—while maintaining excellence in education. It is our pledge to support the state’s advancement— with productive citizens and skilled workers prepared to fill the jobs of the 21st century economy. At a time when we face a student debt crisis in the United States, this represents a great opportunity for potential students to access a high quality education close to home with no out-of-pocket costs.”

PACT will support students beginning in the fall 2020 semester who fit five criteria. They must be graduates of Connecticut high schools, be full-time attending college for the first time, complete an application for federal financial aid and accept all awards, remain in good academic standing and apply and register by July 15, 2020 for priority consideration.

Students meeting those criteria can attend any community college in Connecticut for up to three years free of mandatory tuition and fees related to eligible programs. Awards are limited to fall and spring semesters and are available regardless of family income. PACT awards go into effect after all other sources of financial aid, though student loans, work-study programs and financial assistance for non-tuition and fees expenses are not considered financial aid. Students with eligible costs covered by existing financial aid can receive awards of a minimum of $250 per semester.

To learn more about the program, visit