Over 30 students from Norwalk Community College joined Senator Chris Murphy for a roundtable discussion to talk affordable college education Friday afternoon. Within the next few days Murphy will introduce a bill that he calls controversial. The proposed policy will take into consideration new innovation, incentive grants and school credit.
"The first part of our proposal is probably the least controversial of the two sections," Murphy said. "It would give grants to schools that enact innovative programs that it takes to reduce the amount of time it takes to get a degree. There is no magic that a college degree should take four years. There is no reason why our entire system of higher education is based on the number of credits, the number of hours that you spend in a classroom. There are many other ways you can award a degree based on your demonstration that you have obtained the skills necessary to get that degree regardless of how many hours you spent in the seat."
There are more than 38 million student loan borrowers in the United States with more than $1.1 trillion in outstanding debt. Murphy says with the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act early next year, the state has the opportunity to recognize that the federal government must play a more active role in incentivizing colleges to reduce costs.
"Traditionally in community colleges, when the economy gets bad, students go back to get more training and go back to college, when the economy gets better, then they go back to work and our enrollment goes down.
Many students' main concerns revolved around their inability to transfer credit, which delays graduation.