UConn’s announcement of the Connecticut Commitment, an institutional grant providing free tuition to qualifying UConn students of low-income families, was met with mixed reactions by undergraduate students.
The institutional grant will fund the full tuition of in-state students who meet a $50,000 or lower annual household income, beginning with the class of students entering in fall 2020.
Birgetta Johnson, a fifth-semester anthropology major, said the grant is a great opportunity for incoming students and was long-needed.
“Higher education is entirely too expensive and the financial gatekeeping is disturbing,” Johnson said. “I think UConn is certainly headed in the right direction.”
Both Cameron Cordaway, a first-semester physiology and neurobiology major and Omar Anwar-Krumeich, a seventh-semester management and engineering for manufacturing major, agreed that the Connecticut Commitment would benefit both the University and the student recipients.
“I think the whole plan definitely will allow students who are underprivileged to have a chance to get an education,” Anwar-Krumeich said. “There is probably a good portion of Connecticut students who wouldn’t have been able to afford UConn before, but now they can, and I think that’s great.”
However, the majority of students interviewed also had doubts about the commitment.
Cordaway was concerned that, since the University would now be increasing the monetary value of grants, it may negatively affect future applicants’ chances of being accepted to UConn.
“Are they going to accept less students? Is the acceptance rate going to go down because of this?” Cordaway questioned.
Johnson was concerned about other undergraduate students that may be overlooked by this grant.
“My only disappointment is that students like myself will not be able to benefit from this program and must continue taking out significant loans to continue enrollment,” Johnson said. “For people who would otherwise qualify, this is a make-or-break opportunity, and current students are being swept under the rug.”
Overall, the students interviewed felt the Connecticut Commitment is a positive step by the University, but resoundingly also felt that there was still work to be done to decrease the student debt crisis.
“I think the University has a commitment to helping the state, so this action is something the University should have been doing for a long time,” said Anwar-Krumeich.
Amanda Kilyk is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.