July 24, 2020

Senator Haskell Encouraged By Strong Early Response to Tuition-Free Community College Program

Today, State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) remarked on the strong early response to the Pledge to Advance Connecticut, the state’s new tuition and fee-free community college program. In a letter to legislators this week a, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities President Mark Ojakian said more than 2,200 students have received $2.5 million in grant awards following the program’s initial July 15 priority application deadline.

“This Fall, Connecticut will see at least 2,200 young people will decide that they too can afford to pursue a degree. I don’t care what politics are — that’s good news for the development of our workforce pipeline,” said Sen. Haskell. “This program is already making a difference in people’s lives. But here’s the coolest part; more than half of those who signed up for PACT discovered that their tuition is already covered by federal aid. So this program isn’t just inspiring more students to pursue higher education — it’s bringing more dollars from Washington, DC back to Connecticut. It’s also continuing to accept applications first-come, first-served, so I encourage any interested and eligible students to apply.”

PACT, funded earlier this year with a one-time grant, will provide tuition and fee-free access to two years of community college for students who apply, seeking to cover their educational costs. Ojakian said those applicants who already had tuition and fees covered by existing funding and will receive a grant of $250.

“While it might not sound like a lot, that $250 grant will make a real difference to our poorer students,” Ojakian said in the letter, who noted many are students of color and face incredible challenges in obtaining degrees.

Importantly, community colleges will continue to accept applications for PACT for the fall semester with students receiving priority in the order their applications are received; at least $1 million remains for eligible students.

To be eligible, students must be graduates of Connecticut high schools, be first-time college students (not including students who took college courses in high school), fill out the FAFSA and accept all awards, take 12 or more credits per semester, enroll in classes as soon as possible, participate in a degree or credit-bearing certificate program, and remain in good academic standing once enrolled.

Those who are interested and are seeking more information should visit ct.edu/PACT.