In the midst of skyrocketing student loan debt and a nationwide economy struggling to prove itself, Connecticut lawmakers are still saying a college degree is a necessity. A new program is giving college drop-outs a limited time opporunity to get back to the classroom and get that degree.
It's called "Get Back to Get Ahead" and it's Governor Malloy's latest answer to the state's declining college completion rate.
Right now, just over sixty one percent of students complete their degrees in the state of Connecticut. And, despite some questioning it's cost-benefit, research still favors college education.
“When we look at what we need in the workforce and we don’t have the qualified workers – no matter what age - we have a problem on our hands,” said Kristina Testa-Buzzee of Norwalk Community College.
Norwalk Community College is one of the seventeen institutions participating in the program, and she tells me a program like this is key in getting students back to the classroom.
There are around 65, 000 students all across Connecticut who have left college for a variety of reasons – and this program can help them get back on their feet.
“We know from the research and work that we’ve done for the last five years that this is a population that is very real. They are not a population who think, I’m going to come back to school and everything will be great,” said Kristina. “It might be students who just took a couple years off; it might be a mothers who are returning to the workforce and want to gain that degree that they never finished; it might be someone who was laid off. So this program really goes after people, who for a variety of reasons, haven’t had the opportunity to complete their degree,” she said.
One of the most prevalent reasons students leave is because of the financial burden. This program could greatly aid in that area, offering Connecticut residents who started an Associates' Degree or Bachelors' Degree - three free classes.
Students must have completed 12 college level courses before 2012 and during the past ten years. And, most importantly, this program is first-come-first-serve. The government has set aside six million dollars for the program and once that money runs out, there's no guarantee it will be offered again.
If interested, you can visit www.gobacktogetahead.com