The Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority (CHESLA) released a study on Thursday that concluded it has created 597 jobs, increased the total of all borrowers’ income by more than $72 million and increased state Gross Domestic Product by $74 million over a six year period.

CHESLA’s study, which surveyed the work of the authority between 2015-2021, also found that students who finish their college education have a lifetime earning potential of $1.2 million more than residents who graduated with a high school diploma. Increasing income levels across Connecticut will have a positive impact on the state because it will lead to more tax revenue, the study concluded.

CHESLA helps Connecticut students 18 and over who have exhausted financial aid, scholarships, and Direct Subsidized/Direct Unsubsidized federal student loan options. It serves as a final resort to getting student loans.

In the past six years, CHESLA’s loans and scholarships totaled $148 million, which has created more than $3.3 billion in income for the state. For every $1 distributed via loans or scholarships, more than $22 has been returned to the state, the study found. CHESLA expects to see more short and long term income produced from this work in the future.

Since CHESLA’s inception in 2015, it has distributed about $11 million in loans. These loans have helped nearly 6,000 Connecticut residents attend higher education institutions. 

CHESLA Executive Director Jeanette Weldon said the organization helps drive economic and workforce development throughout the state. 

“This report demonstrates that CHESLA’s investments in Connecticut residents and their families offer a substantial return that very few investments can be compared to,” Weldon said. 

Jessica is CT Mirror's Emma Bowen Foundation general assignment reporter for the 2022 / 2023 academic year. She is currently a senior at Central Connecticut State University pursuing her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She also works at her school’s newspaper, The Recorder, and peer mentored first-year undergraduates at Central. Jessica is a Connecticut native through and through.