Merging the Bristol Press and Connecticut community colleges, all offer students a standard tuition fee and the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree at the same rate

NEW BRITAIN — An agreement was signed on the fourth floor of 185 Main St. Tuesday, forever changing the landscape of higher education in the state.

Beginning July 1, 2023, all 12 community colleges in the state will merge into CT State Community College, offering students a standard rate of transcription and tuition fees, with the option to earn a bachelor’s degree at the same rate.

Charter Oak State College President Ed Klonoski and CT State Community College President John Maduko signed the CT State Community College Tuition Match Scholarship Program Agreement at the main office of CT State Community College, which will also be the future home of Charter Oak is.

“In a small, quiet way, we created a debt-free college education,” Klonoski said of the agreement, which was signed in front of the presidents of Connecticut’s 12 community colleges. “We have to turn the last curve in higher education. We believe this could and should be a national model.”

Once students complete an associate degree (free for first-time students) at one of 16 campuses across the state, they can set CT State Community College’s tuition and fee rate to complete a bachelor’s degree online at Charter Oak State College.

Charter Oak has been offering the tuition since 2018 and 600 students have taken advantage of it since then.

“The bachelor’s degree leads to jobs and also qualifies you for a 30-credit master’s degree,” Klonoski said.

When he told the community college presidents about the proposal, it took just three weeks for them to get on board.

The Chair of the Board of Regents, Joanne Ryan, was thrilled to support the program and the merger.

“This agreement will provide students with an affordable way to earn their bachelor’s degree and achieve their goals,” Ryan said, adding that the program is an incentive for community college students to continue and pursue graduate degrees.

Students like Heather Delaney, who shared her own experiences with the group. Delaney earned an associate degree in drug and alcohol counseling from Gateway Community College and knew she needed more.

“I was on a time crunch and my resources were very, very limited,” Delaney said. “I didn’t want to take out a student loan.”

She found out about Charter Oak’s tuition match program and quickly enrolled. Now Delaney is looking into masters degrees.

“With this scholarship, more people like me are going back to school, pursuing their careers, and being happy and successful in life,” she said.

Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at [email protected]

Posted in The Bristol Press, General News on Tuesday, November 15, 2022 2:46 PM. Updated: Tuesday, November 15, 2022 2:49 PM.