Tuition, fee free community college program generates interest

Published on Thursday, 30 July 2020 13:42


The Pledge to Advance Connecticut (PACT), Connecticut’s tuition and fee free community college program, has generated strong interest and it’s not too late to qualify, according to Mark Ojakian, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) president.

More than 2,200 students have received $2.5 million in grant awards through the July 15 deadline for priority consideration, said Ojakian in a statement released this week.

PACT was launched last December as the state Board of Regents for Higher Education adopted its new policy to make the state’s 12 community colleges tuition and fee free for many students.

Qualified students will owe no out-of-pocket tuition or mandatory fees. More than half – those whose tuition and fees are already covered by existing federal, state, and institutional funding – will receive the minimum grant of $250 for educational expenses.

“While it might not sound like a lot, that $250 grant will make a real difference to our poorer students, many of whom are students of color, who all too often face nearly insurmountable obstacles – from childcare, to food insecurity, to unreliable transportation – to obtaining a degree,” Ojakian said.

“So far, we have 302 PACT eligible students who met the deadline for Tunxis Community College, and 270 students have received the PACT grant,” said Melissa Lamar, Marketing & Public Relations interim director for Tunxis in Farmington. “Just to clarify, the other 32 students may still get the money but are missing a requirement to complete their file,” she said.

The community colleges will continue to accept PACT applications for the fall semester on a first come, first served basis. Students who enroll now will receive priority in the order in which they are received, within available funding.

“It is not too late for qualified students to attend college with no out-of-pocket expenses,” said David Levinson, interim president of Connecticut State Community College, the state’s newly consolidated community college system.

In order to qualify for PACT, potential students must meet the following requirements:

o    Be a graduate of a public or private Connecticut high school - GED and homeschooled students qualify.

o    Be a first-time college student - those who participated in dual enrollment programs while in high school are not excluded).

o    Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and accept all awards.

o    Attend community college full-time – with 12 or more credits per semester.

•    Enroll in classes today for first come, first served consideration.

•    Participate in a degree or credit-bearing certificate program.

•    Once enrolled, remain in good academic standing.

To apply for the program, eligible students must enroll in classes at any of Connecticut’s 12 community colleges. PACT is a last-dollar scholarship, so once students enroll in classes and complete all necessary financial aid documentation, including the FAFSA, PACT funding will be applied to their account.

Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, General News on Thursday, 30 July 2020 13:42. Updated: Thursday, 30 July 2020 13:45.