tags: , , , Blog

CT DREAMers Rally In Support Of Financial Aid For Undocumented Youth

Share This:

Last Saturday, Connecticut DREAMers from CT Students for a DREAM (C4D) rallied at the State Capitol in Hartford in support of equal access to financial aid for the state’s undocumented youth.

Connecticut DREAMers won in-state tuition in 2011, but only five states in the nation (California, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington) allow undocumented students to apply for financial aid.

With federal financial forms requiring a Social Security number for processing — which undocumented immigrants lack — a higher education can still remain financially impossible for undocumented students, even with access to in-state tuition.

But, bills currently under consideration by Connecticut’s legislature could finally make the college dreams of the state’s undocumented youth a reality.

At the end of March, the CT Mirror reported that allowing DACA recipients access to financial aid now even has the support of Republican lawmakers in the legislature:

Most Republican legislators on the Higher Education Committee voted Tuesday in favor of opening a $100 million pot of college financial aid to undocumented immigrants.

The vote may signal a change of heart among legislative Republicans about providing financial help to undocumented students.

When state lawmakers changed state law in 2011 to allow undocumented students who went to high school in Connecticut to pay in-state tuition, not a single Republican legislator voted in support.

This year Democratic leaders, including Sen. Martin Looney, the Senate’s top Democrat, are pushing to open financial aid for undocumented students.

The state’s public colleges currently set aside at least 15 percent of tuition dollars they collect each year to provide needy students with financial aid — which exceeded $100 million this year. Tuition paid by undocumented students currently contributes to that financial aid pool, but those students are not eligible to receive financial aid.

“It’s just unfair,” Sen. Kevin Witkos, R-Canton, the ranking minority member of the committee, said before the vote on the bill that would open financial aid to all students.

“I gladly stand in strong support,” said Witkos, who voted in 2011 against allowing immigrants who grew up in Connecticut to pay in-state tuition.

According to the CT Post, DREAMers at Saturday’s rally also called on lawmakers to consider expanding the legislation’s language to include undocumented students without DACA:

The day of action aims to show support for legislation that is curretly before the general assembly, which would open up access to financial aid for some undocumented students, including S.B. 398 and H.B. 6844. The group is also calling upon the Democratic leadership to expand S.B. 398’s current bill language that limits access to this financial aid to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients only.

Tweets of the rally in support of financial aid for Connecticut’s undocumented students below: