Calling this an investment is a soft way of admitting someone has to pay for it, namely the taxpayers of Connecticut.

The Middletown Press reports:

Connecticut’s debt-free college program called an investment

The debt-free community college program that is part of the new state budget being acted on Tuesday will cost up to $8.1 million in the first year, according to the state Office of Fiscal Analysis.

Supporters, however, hailed it as an investment in the future of Connecticut.

“This pathway to a debt-free community college empowers students to gain the skills they need to fuel our state’s economy,” said State Sen. Will Haskell, D-Westport, a co-chair of the legislature’s higher education committee and a champion of the legislation.

The plan, which would go into effect in the fall of 2020, will allow first-time college students to earn up to 72 college credits without incurring debt.

It is not immediately clear how many students would be eligible for the program but it is expected it will boost enrollment at the state’s 12 community colleges. Enrollment has been declining for some time.

Final legislative approval was expected Tuesday by the Senate as part of the state budget. The budget package passed the House late Monday.

State Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said the program will not only take a bite of student debt — Connecticut has the third-highest accumulated student loan debt in the country — but will increase the number of students who not only go to college but leave with a degree.

“We think it will result in an increase in the number of students who ultimately complete not only an associates degree but a bachelors degree afterwards,” Looney said. “That is critically important for the future of the state of Connecticut.”


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