Students of Connecticut’s independent colleges gathered outside the House chamber Monday afternoon to protest cuts to their grant program included in Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s proposed budget.
The proposed budget recommends cutting funding to the Independent College Student Grant Program by 25 percent the first year, followed by a 50 percent cut the next year.
The grants, which range up to $8,332 a year, are designed to aid Connecticut residents who are attending an independent college or university within the state, according the Department of Higher Education.
St. Joseph College junior April Duquette of Waterburry said if the cuts are adopted by the legislature it may make it impossible for her to keep going to school.
“We’re here to ask Dan Malloy to re-look at his budget. We don’t want Connecticut to get short-changed on education,” she said.
Duquette said she’s from a single-parent household and her mother is already struggling make sure both she and her younger brother Travis receive quality educations.
“Getting me through private education is already difficult enough. These changes make it almost impossible for me to continue,” she said.
Krystal Myers of Bristol, who also goes to St. Joseph, said that the government should be focusing on encouraging education because it represents a powerful investment in the future.
“We can’t make cuts to something so powerful,” she said.
Goodwin College Communications Coordinator Matt Englehardt said the cuts could affect over 700 students at that school alone. Many of them are first generation college students, already juggling jobs to stay enrolled, he said.
The group of protesters planned to march by the governor’s office before meeting with some legislators in the cafeteria of the Legislative Office Building. Some of the students were also expected to testify before the Appropriations Committee during a public hearing on higher education.