Today, the U.S. Department of Education announced the “Dual Enrollment Pell Experiment” which allocates approximately $20 million for 44 higher education institutions across the country to support students taking college courses while in high school. For the first time, high school students will have access to Pell Grants, previously only available to college students. Almost 80% of the schools selected were community colleges, 6 of them from Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) including: Asnuntuck, Naugatuck, Quinebaug, Norwalk, Gateway and Three Rivers. 

Pell Grants will now be available to current and future students in CSCU’s dual enrollment and advanced manufacturing programs.  Both programs help students obtain an Associate’s Degree in STEM fields that link directly to unfilled jobs identified by industry partners including Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance, Electric Boat, and IBM. Students enrolled are typically minority and/or from low-income backgrounds.

“I want to congratulate all the schools that were chosen. It is a testament to the great work being done at CSCU and our commitment to making higher education accessible to all students,” said CSCU President Mark Ojakian. “Engaging students early only increases their chances for academic success. On their behalf, I want to thank Under Secretary Ted Mitchell and the Obama Administration for helping to expand educational opportunities for Connecticut’s students.”

“Dual enrollment programs are powerful ways to introduce rigorous coursework to students and show these students that they are smart enough, talented enough, and prepared enough to tackle higher education. Dual enrollment programs are game changers for all students – especially those are first-generation or from low-income families,” said Education Under-Secretary Ted Mitchell. “Through this experiment, we hope to learn how the availability of Pell Grants affects student participation and success in dual enrollment programs.”



  • The announcement is the next step for America’s College Promise, a proposal created by President Obama in 2015 to make community college free for responsible students.
  • Copy of letter from U.S. Department of Education can be found here.


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