CSCU looks to offer college degrees for inmates - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CSCU looks to offer college degrees for inmates

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New proposal from the Connecticut state colleges and universities system that would allow inmates at nine state prisons to take community college courses for free. (WFSB) New proposal from the Connecticut state colleges and universities system that would allow inmates at nine state prisons to take community college courses for free. (WFSB)
NEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -

The state's largest public college system is asking the federal government to use tax payer money to help convicts get college credit.

A new proposal from the Connecticut state colleges and universities system that would allow inmates at nine state prisons to take community college courses for free.

If this idea is approved by federal legislators, prison inmates could be able to become students at state community colleges without ever stepping on campus.

Connecticut community college students had different opinions on the subject.

"Everybody makes mistakes you know and like I said education is for everybody,” Angela Zorilla, who is a community college student in Connecticut, said. “Everybody should have a fair...everybody should have an education." 

"I do think it’s a good idea for people to get a higher education,” Tajh Gill, who is a community college student in Connecticut, said. “But I don't think I personally should have another tax added on."    

Central State Connecticut University leaders are asking the federal government to pay for the program. If the plan is approved inmates would be able to enroll in job training courses and complete work on degree programs next fall.

“They have a problem funding people who want to who have hard means and yet we're going to fund people who got themselves in their own jams,”    Krystal Climan, who is a community college student in Connecticut, said.  

“Education is power and everyone has the right to education,” Miguel Figueroa, who is a community college student in Connecticut, said.  

CSCU President Mark Ojakian made the proposal in a letter to the U.S. Department of Education. The state department of corrections has endorsed the idea.  Now federal legislators will decide whether Connecticut inmates can become college students.

“It's pretty difficult because you have school, but you have a whole life outside of school,” Zorilla said.

The federal government already earmarked some funding for prisoner coursework through a pilot program which Gov. Dannel P. Malloy strongly endorsed. If the plan is approved the prisoners will be given Pell grants, which do not have to be repaid.

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