Community colleges have long been the most accessible, affordable higher education option in Connecticut. But mirroring national higher education trends, many students had to put their education on hold in the last few years. The community colleges have invested in ways to help begin, restart or finish college.
Many students’ lives changed considerably during the pandemic, according to Michael Buccilli, Assistant Vice President of Student Success Management for the 12 Connecticut community colleges. “Their families may have grown, they may have left a job or started a new business. People have different reasons for leaving and different reasons for coming back, and we have ways to support them all.”
The campuses have added services to support returning students such as Guided Pathways Advising to help re-enroll and choose the right classes; plus free wellness counseling and a new virtual platform that provides free telehealth and mental health services. Childcare, transportation assistance, food pantry access, plus dedicated veterans and bilingual staff are also on site.
Coming back may mean a part-time schedule or a short-term, non-credit program that delivers work-related credentials or skills. Health care, manufacturing and IT courses are in high demand, including certifications from Google and Amazon Web Services (AWS). The colleges also offer English as a second language certificates, which can be applied toward academic degrees.
For those pursuing a bachelor’s degree, community college credits transfer to all four Connecticut state universities, UConn and most private colleges in CT, plus many others across the U.S., which can cut the overall cost of a college education by more than half.
Fall semester starts August 29. Many campuses have Enroll in a Day events on Saturdays and evenings in August. Returning students can also make advising appointments. Visit ct.edu for a campus list and links to websites for details.
The 12 community colleges are merging on July 1, 2023 to become CT State Community College. Students will seamlessly transition to CT State at that time and will enjoy the benefits of a merged college with unified transcripts and financial aid packages, plus the ability to take courses at any campus. Locations include Asnuntuck (Enfield), Capital (Hartford), Gateway (New Haven & North Haven), Housatonic (Bridgeport), Manchester, Middlesex (Middletown & Meriden), Naugatuck Valley (Waterbury & Danbury), Northwestern (Winsted), Norwalk, Quinebaug Valley (Danielson & Willimantic), Three Rivers (Norwich & Groton) and Tunxis (Farmington).