Senator Boucher Touts Bipartisan Higher Education Bill

April 28, 2012

Hartford, CT – Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) applauds the bipartisan passage of SB 40, AN ACT CONCERNING COLLEGE READINESS AND COMPLETION. Senator Boucher thanks the co-chairs of the committee for their openness to the many ideas and suggestions in crafting this landmark legislation in college readiness.

SB 40 makes changes to the way that the Connecticut State University System and Community Colleges can offer remedial help to those students who enter college well behind the learning curve of their classmates.

“This bill will allow students who may need extra help to catch up by eliminating remedial class requirements before they begin taking entry level classes,” said Sen. Boucher. “Instead, higher education institutions will have the opportunity to offer a beefed up entry level class, so students who need help can catch up faster.”

The goal of SB 40 is to allow these students – some of them non-traditional – to graduate in 2 years with an associate’s degree from community college, or 4 years in our state university system and not have to expend grants and scholarships on remedial studies. Many times students will spend 4 years earning an associates degree that should only take two years to acquire.

“As a result, some students are expending their scarce college scholarship loans on one to two years of remedial courses that do not count toward the completion of their college degree,” said Sen. Boucher.

“As a ranking member on the Higher Education Committee, I would prefer to see students prepared for college when they graduated High School. However, as we have experienced Connecticut’s achievement gap has grown through the years and sadly many students leave high school unprepared for college level courses. This bill seeks to address this issue so our students can compete for jobs in a global society,” said Sen. Boucher. “Remedial classes can help to pass courses necessary to fulfill the requirements of a degree however the long delay often derails the student’s progress. The need to shorten the process made this bill a priority of the higher education committee.”

Senator Boucher, along with the Chairs of the Higher Education Committee, crafted and successfully passed this ground breaking new design to help students complete a college degree in a timely fashion. They also believe this could become a national model for streamlining remedial courses at the Community College and State University Systems.

The hard work by the leaders of the higher education committee to revise the language by including all parties and their concerns produced a strong bill that limits remedial classes to one semester and offers support that may be necessary taken along side of degree eligible courses in an effort to make the journey from college entrance to completion shorter and less costly. The implementation of this bill may highlight other aspects of remedial education that can be improved. Senator Boucher looks forward to continuing to work together with the leaders, and members of the higher education committee to make continuous improvement to our constituent units of our higher education system and for the benefit of our community college and state university system students.

The bill passed on a roll call vote 33-3.

Sen. Boucher is a Ranking Member of both the Education Committee and Higher Education Committee and dedicates much of her time to issues involving youth programs, children’s issues and education. She has also been a chairman of Wilton Board of Education, State Board of Education and Deputy Minority Leader of the Senate and Assistant Minority Leader in the House.