HARTFORD, Connecticut – Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) have announced that the $ 17 million in student loan debt accumulated by local college students during the pandemic will be forgiven, according to a statement. The forgiveness, which will be funded by the Federal Emergency Relief Fund for Higher Education, affects all account balances arising from enrollments from summer 2019 through spring 2021.
All registration suspensions associated with these outstanding balances have been removed.
“Community college students have been particularly hard hit by COVID-19,” CSCU President Terrence Cheng said in a statement. “By eliminating student debt to educational institutions, we are removing the obstacle that prevents too many people from continuing their educational journey. Our message to the students is simple: now you have a clean slate, so if your account balance remained unfulfilled your way, you can now sign up for classes for the fall semester. “
A debt write-off of $ 17 million will affect 18,161 current and former students. There are no conditions and students are not required to sign up for classes in any future semesters.
“The economic impact of COVID-19 has been disproportionately affected by community college students,” said Dr. Jane Gates, CSCU’s Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, in a statement. “They lost their jobs, suffered from food insecurity and lacked access to essential services – not to mention the devastating harm done to those affected by the virus. Unsurprisingly, so many students have seen the debt they owe our colleges accumulate. I am very pleased that we are taking action today. Not only will this give many of our students some peace of mind, but it will also allow them to enroll in classes for the fall without worrying about registration delays. ”
In addition to debt relief, CSCU has distributed more than $ 56 million in direct student payments since 2020 across the system using federal incentive funding. Additional announcements of student support are expected in the coming weeks.