Naugatuck Valley Community College welcomed Governor Dannel P. Malloy, together with State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier, on Wed., March 19 to discuss college affordability with nearly 100 local leaders, community members, business owners and members of the campus community.
At the joint news conference, the Governor disclosed two proposals: a $250 incentive to encourage families to plan early for college and increased funding to the Governor’s Scholarship Program. Treasurer Nappier provided details for the second phase of CHET Advance Scholarship, launched March 18 for high school juniors and sixth graders, and the CHET Dream Big! Competition for elementary school students. All of the initiatives are geared toward establishing college savings for Connecticut students to strengthen their likelihood of earning a degree.
“Community colleges are the primary entry point to higher education for many underrepresented groups and first-generation college students,” said NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. “At Naugatuck Valley Community College, where we award more than $10 million in financial aid annually, providing early learning opportunities to future students and their families about saving for college is critical, and could potentially be the bridge that helps a student get here, and then complete.”
“The mere existence of a college savings plan can positively influence a child’s life,” said Governor Malloy. “Studies have shown that children with a college savings account, of any amount, are seven times more likely to attend and graduate from college than those with no account.”
Two NVCC students were present at the event as previous Governor’s Scholarship recipients.
Shaun Martin, a second semester accounting major with a 4.0 GPA talked about his plans to transfer to Central Connecticut State University once he completes his degree at NVCC. Phoenix Kittredge, a 2013 graduate of Kennedy High School and second semester Computer Info Systems (CIS) Technology major, is still considering whether to enter the workforce immediately or continue her education.
According to the Governor’s Office, House Bill 5048, if enacted, would expand current government-sponsored opportunities for college savings to newly-born and adopted children, providing a one-time investment of $100 to families of Connecticut children who open a tax-advantaged CHET 529 college savings account by the child’s first birthday, or within the first year after adoption. Families that save another $150 dollars in the first four years will receive a state match of $150 for a total state investment of $250.
“Dreams alone won’t pay for college. It is my hope that CHET Baby Scholars, CHET Advance Scholarship and CHET Dream Big! can play a role for our State’s children fulfilling their academic potential and realizing their dreams,” said Treasurer Nappier, Trustee of the Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET).
According to President De Filippis, these financial supports are an important move for supporting future NVCC students.
“I believe it is important to give our young students a sense of owndership, that education is their right, their responsibility, and their key to social justice and future success,” said President De Filippis. “This is a wonderful step that the Governor’s Office is proposing, in providing students with a means to that end.”