Highlighting the struggle many students and families face trying to pay for college, State Senator Gayle S. Slossberg (D-Milford) and Senate Democrats have announced their support for legislation aimed at making college more affordable.
“We’ve reached the point where people are putting their lives on hold because of the overwhelming burden of student debt,” said Slossberg. “If current trends continue, we’re looking at a future where a college education is out of reach for many people. We can’t let that happen. These proposals are a good step toward combatting the skyrocketing costs of college education.”
Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) said that six years ago, student loan debt made up the smallest portion of household debt; today, it represents the largest portion of household debt other than mortgages.
“The impact is far-reaching, from closing the doors of opportunity to influencing majors and career choices, delaying major life events and saddling students with debt,” Looney said.
Slossberg and a dozen other caucus members have introduced Senate Bill 393, An Act Concerning A Cap on the Administrative Expenses of the Board of Regents For Higher Education and the University of Connecticut.
College costs are an urgent topic of discussion in Connecticut and across the nation. According to the College Board, tuition at public four-year institutions in the U.S. has increased by 17% in the past five years. At the same time, according to the State Office of Higher Education, tuition has increased 24.7% at the Connecticut State University System, 26.9% at the community colleges and 28.7% at UConn.
The bill would put a percentage cap on how much of the block grants appropriated to UConn and the Board of Regents is allowed to be spent on administrative expenses of the central offices of these two systems.
In order to bring greater transparency, Senate Bill 399, An Act Concerning Reporting Requirements of the University of Connecticut Regarding Financial Aid, has been introduced.
The bill would require UConn to submit information to the Office of Higher Education indicating how its financial aid was awarded annually, including to in-state and out-of-state students.
Senate Bill 950 An Act Enabling the Refinancing of Student Loans has also been introduced to make loan refinancing available to Connecticut residents, Connecticut students, parents and attendees of Connecticut higher education institutions through the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority (CHELSA), regardless of whether the loan was originally made by CHESLA.