CT state college system cancels $ 17 million in community college student debt amid pandemic



HARTFORD – Connecticut state colleges and universities will write off $ 17 million in debt that community college students have accumulated or have been unable to repay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CSCU announced on Tuesday that the request for debt cancellation would impact 18,161 current and recent students.

“Community college students have been particularly affected by COVID-19,” CSCU President Terrence Cheng said in a statement. “By eliminating the debt these students owe to institutions, we are removing a barrier that prevents too many people from continuing their education.

“Our message to students is simple: you now have a clean slate, so if an account balance bothered you, you can now enroll in fall semester courses,” he said.

The initiative is funded by dollars from the Higher Education Emergency Fund. The federal grants program encourages institutions to consider using the funds to pay off student debt, according to advice from the US Department of Education.

The relief applies to account balances from summer 2019 to spring 2021.

All holdings on fall class registrations due to unpaid balances have been removed, according to a press release from the CSCU.

“The economic consequences of COVID-19 have caused disproportionate harm to community college students,” Jane Gates, provost and senior vice president of academic and student affairs at CSCU, said in a statement. “They lost their jobs, suffered from food insecurity and did not have access to life-saving services, not to mention the devastating damage done to people with the virus. It is no wonder that so many students have seen the debt owed to our colleges piling up.

Gates was most recently interim president of the public college and university system.

Since the start of the pandemic last spring, the CSCU has also distributed more than $ 56 million in federal stimulus packages in direct payments to students.

The press release teased more announcements related to “student support” in the coming weeks.

The average Connecticut student loan borrower who graduated before the pandemic in 2019 was $ 41,579 in debt.

After more than a year of hiatus, student loan repayments are expected to resume in October.

Some Democrats have called on the president to extend the moratorium and write off part of the debt per student.

President Joe Biden has considered using executive action to write off federal student loan debt.

“Debt has really had an impact on many families, many students, and getting out of it and out of it is extremely important,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in May at a appeal with the Education Writers Association, a national organization for education journalists. “And I know this is a priority for the president as well as for me.

“We are still working with the White House on the best way forward and negotiating the rights and responsibilities that we have as an agency,” he said.


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