The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) will forgive about $17 million in community college student debt accumulated during the pandemic.
“Community college students have to make choices between work and family and their education,” CSCU President Terrence Cheng said. “Our ability to wipe the slate clean and make it as easy for them to return to the classrooms to continue pursuing their educations and their lives, that’s what CSCU is all about.”
The debt relief will impact 18,161 current and former students, Cheng said, noting that students will not be required to meet any particular conditions – including having to enroll in future classes – to receive the loan forgiveness.
Enrollment is down across the state’s universities and colleges, with many community college students particularly hard hit by the pandemic.
“By eliminating the debt those students owe to institutions, we are removing a hurdle that prevents far too many people from continuing their educational journeys,” Cheng said. “Our message to students is simple: You now have a clean slate, so if an account balance was standing in your way, you can now register for classes for the fall semester.”
Paid for with the federal High Education Emergency Relief Fund money, the forgiveness affects all account balances that resulted from enrollment in summer 2019 through spring 2021.
In addition to debt forgiveness, CSCU has distributed over $56 million through federal funding to students across the system since 2020.