With Connecticut Commitment, UConn moves in the right direction

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Friday, October 4th, UConn's sixteenth president Thomas Katsouleas was inaugurated in Jorgensen Theatre in front of a crowd of trustees, delegates, deans, and students. President Katsouleas announced a new initiative to help low income students in the state of Connecticut obtain a higher education.  Photo by Kevin Lindstrom / The Daily Campus

Friday, October 4th, UConn’s sixteenth president Thomas Katsouleas was inaugurated in Jorgensen Theatre in front of a crowd of trustees, delegates, deans, and students. President Katsouleas announced a new initiative to help low income students in the state of Connecticut obtain a higher education. Photo by Kevin Lindstrom / The Daily Campus

As most of you probably know by now, President Katsouleas made a huge announcement at his inauguration last week: Starting in the Fall of 2020, all students with household incomes under $50,000 will receive free tuition. Katsouleas also promised to attempt to raise this income threshold higher in coming years. 

The plan is comprehensive, thoughtful and forward-thinking. For one, it recognizes that many low-income students already have partial- or full-tuition scholarships. Therefore, the program is designed to allow its funding to roll over to other costs, like textbooks, university fees, food and housing. This element of the plan is welcome news, as many low-income students are heavily burdened by non-tuition costs.  

In addition, the plan includes undocumented students, who are often shut out of scholarship and loan programs due to their immigration status. All Connecticut residents should be able to get an affordable, world-class education.  

President Katsouleas’ commitment is to be funded by an aggressive fundraising campaign, which, if successful, will minimize the burden on middle- to upper-income students.  

College is wildly expensive and has been increasing in price much faster than wages and wealth can keep up. Low-income prospective students across the country are constantly shut out of higher educational opportunities due to cost considerations. When low- to moderate-income students do make it to college, it is often while saddled by tens of thousands of dollars of loans. 

A college degree is often thought of as a golden ticket. Once you get a degree, you can climb the job ladder and help bring your family out of generational poverty.  

The Connecticut Commitment will make that golden ticket available to increasingly more and more low-income Connecticut residents.  

We are proud of our new president for the proactive steps he is taking to brighten the great state of Connecticut. Three cheers for the Connecticut Commitment! Let’s hope there is more forward-thinking action to come.  


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