On February 28, two 4C’s members, Margaret Malaspina and David Welsh, testified on a legislative proposal to create the Governor’s Scholarship. The proposal would replace existing state student aid programs with the Governor’s Scholarship and includes new eligibility requirements. Both Margaret and David objected to provisions of the program. Their major concern is language that would limit scholarship eligibility to full-time students. A secondary concern restricts the use of funds to provide student employment.
“Encouraging our students to persist in their studies and complete degrees is a goal we all share, but our students who can’t attend full-time have the same aspirations as full-time students, and I don’t believe we should deny them a reasonable chance at this assistance,” testified David Welsh, Director of Student Financial Assistance at Tunxis.
Margaret Malaspina, Director of Student Financial Assistance at Capital, offered details concerning the kinds of students who would be denied scholarships if the program were restricted to full-time students. She also objected to the elimination of student employment for those with financial need. “Research has shown that students who work on campus are more likely to complete their degrees,” she testified.
The Governor’s Scholarship proposal is included in Senate Bill 844, “An Act Implementing the Budget Recommendations of the Governor Concerning Higher Education.” The bill is currently being considered by the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee. The Committee Chairs, Sen. Beth Bye and Rep. Roberta Willis, have also shared their concerns about limiting scholarships to full-time students. Both have promised to include part-time students in the final version of the bill.