New London — Gov. Ned Lamont on Thursday introduced proposed laws aimed at halting the fall in enrollment to condition colleges and other postsecondary institutions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A person part of the proposals would see Connecticut join a rising selection of states that require completion of the No cost Software for Federal Student Support form, known as the FAFSA, or a waiver in purchase for a student to graduate from high school.

The type is a necessity for any individual seeking to qualify for federal fiscal aid, even though not everybody thinks they qualify so they simply just skip the FAFSA and stop up unnecessarily shelling out out of pocket, Connecticut Faculties and Universities interim President Jane Gates said.

“Governor Lamont’s proposal is a simple transform that could make a big difference in the life of our students,” Gates mentioned.

Gates was between a handful of condition legislators and training officers to be part of Lamont in a news convention Thursday to announce the proposal and other actions aimed at rising postsecondary enrollment and get rid of roadblocks, significantly among first-generation, lower-revenue and minority college students.

Postsecondary enrollment in Connecticut all through the pandemic has followed the national pattern and declined by 3.5%, data from the Countrywide Student Clearinghouse Exploration Center displays. FAFSA completion amongst substantial university seniors is down 8%.

Attending the news conference was Lizbeth Polanco, a senior at the Science & Technology Magnet Higher School of Southeastern Connecticut in New London, who credited school counselors and lecturers with offering advice and “encouraging me not only to apply for college or university but also encouraging me to think about how I would fork out for it.”

She reported her FAFSA software obtained her monetary support and opened up prospects for outside scholarships.

Lamont’s proposal, part of a workforce enhancement and schooling laws to be introduced to the Standard Assembly later this thirty day period consists of the following initiatives:

  • Creating an vehicle-admission method at the four campuses of the Connecticut State Universities to raise access to college for academically geared up substantial college learners by simplifying the application course of action and eradicating application charges
  • Rising accessibility to Highly developed Placement, twin credit history, early faculty and other large-top quality classes by demanding that districts not prohibit learners from getting these types of programs dependent exclusively on prior tutorial functionality, and that districts automatically enroll college students in advanced coursework if a pupil is academically well prepared
  • Producing an expanded transit pass method, comparable to the UPass plan utilised by pupils at the state’s public faculties and universities, that is open up added establishments including the state’s personal universities and other coaching providers.

“It’s about affordability and access, all through the lens of equity, and which is what we’re attempting to do,” Lamont explained.

“We ought to prioritize postsecondary enrollment so that our college students are earning levels and qualifications that get them into the workforce and contributing to Connecticut’s economy. These pupils symbolize our long run, and the stakes are as well large if we do not act now to mitigate these losses even further,” Lamont stated in a statement.

Dr. Kelli Vallieres, executive director of the Office of Workforce Strategy and vice chairperson of the Governor’s Workforce Council, claimed the pandemic has been a considerable disruptor that “needs immediate notice to mitigate further more reduction.”

She explained the University of Connecticut had partnered with the Governor’s Workforce Council to create the UConn Alliance Pathway. Collaborating Alliance Colleges will annually recognize and share the names of college students in the top 10% of their course or who are amid the top 10% of absolutely free and reduced-rate lunch recipients. UConn will concentrate on individuals students for aid, these kinds of as workshops to help in purposes and FAFSA completion. An application price waiver will be granted to any student who is recognized by the colleges.

UConn President Thomas Katsouleas stated the software will enrich the school’s potential to “identify, recruit and support really talented and deserving college students from throughout the state of Connecticut.”

Further initiatives in the laws incorporate coordination of workforce improvement insurance policies, creation of extra shorter-expression teaching courses in large-need industries and the start of a registry that will have all secondary and postsecondary qualifications supplied in the point out.