Dr. John Maduko, far left, joins a campus tour at the Connecticut State Community College. Maduko took the lead of the state's single, merged community college with 12 campuses and more than 32,000 students in 2022. Yehyun Kim / ctmirror.org

A bill that would expand Connecticut’s debt-free community college program to returning students and increase grants for those enrolled in the program passed out of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee Tuesday.

Beyond expanding the PACT programSenate Bill 8 would also help reallocate funding to a state scholarship program.

The bill also proposes student loan relief, including tax reductions for those who paid interest on loan payments and the creation of a program that would reduce loan interest rates for students employed in certain “high-demand professions.”

“Our state has the resources to fund public higher education and not shift the burden of higher education on to the backs of students and families,” William Key, of Norwalk Community College, wrote in public testimony. “Debt-free community college will make higher education more accessible to students all across our state.”


Jessika Harkay is CT Mirror’s Education Reporter, covering the K-12 achievement gap, education funding, curriculum, mental health, school safety, inequity and other education topics. Jessika's experience includes roles as a breaking news reporter at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Hartford Courant. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Baylor University.