Joined by Mayor Bill Finch, higher education officials, students and legislators, Governor Dannel P. Malloy today visited Housatonic Community College where he discussed his plan to increase college completion rates in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) System.
Governor Malloy's legislation, House Bill 5050, An Act Concerning College Completions, establishes the "Go Back to Get Ahead" program in the Board of Regents (BOR). It would improve college completion rates by encouraging students who have not attained an associate's or bachelor's degree to return to one of 17 state colleges and universities to complete their degree.
"When a student starts college and doesn't complete their degree, it's a lost opportunity for the student, the college, and Connecticut's economy," said Governor Malloy. "This initiative follows the important work we're already doing to improve our colleges and K-12 public schools. "Go Back to Get Ahead' will help us build a future for Connecticut in which we are graduating as many students as possible into good paying jobs with good benefits, right here in Connecticut."
Connecticut residents that have not attended any institution of higher education since Dec. 1, 2012 and return to a Connecticut state college or university to complete a degree may receive up to three-credit courses for free. The program would run for a limited amount of time. Transform CSCU 2020 is a strategic plan to invest in the CSCU System, which calls for the allocation of $20.4 million over two years to launch the "Go Back to Get Ahead" initiative.
"With the number of high school graduates projected to decline for the next decade, and 70 percent of all jobs in Connecticut requiring a post-secondary credential by 2018, we must identify new ways to encourage students to earn or complete a degree," said Gregory Gray, President, Board of Regents for Higher Education. "It is our hope that the "Go Back to Get Ahead" initiative will encourage thousands of students to return to one of the 17 Connecticut State Colleges and Universities by offering up to nine credits in free coursework, and the opportunity for degree completion."
Approximately 100,000 former CSCU students may quality for the program. Ninety-six percent of CSCU students are Connecticut residents and 80 percent remain in Connecticut to work and live. There are 121,000 CSCU students currently enrolled in 2,900 degree and certificate programs.