They won the right to pay in-state tuition in 2011 and on Tuesday Connecticut’s undocumented students got one step closer to accessing $100 million in financial aid.
The Higher Education and Employment Committee forwarded Senate President Martin Looney’s bill to give Connecticut’s “Dreamers” access to financial aid to the Senate.
This year the bill seems to have widespread support, even among some Republican lawmakers.
Sen. Kevin Witkos, R-Canton, said he supported the bill because requiring these students to pay tuition, which helps fund financial aid that they currently can’t access,“is just unfair.”
Witkos said he thinks the dollars will go a long way to helping these students succeed in life.
Lucas Codognolla, lead director of Connecticut Students for a Dream, has said even with in-state tuition the cost of attending college for many was still out of reach.
”All students deserve access to higher education, which is increasingly necessary in today’s economy and for Connecticut’s fastest-growing jobs,” Codognolla has said.
The state’s colleges set aside 15 percent of the tuition collected from all students and distribute it as financial aid to needy students.
Currently, at least five states — California, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington — allow undocumented students to receive state financial aid, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.
The bill was voted out of committee 17-1 Tuesday. State Rep. Whit Betts, R-Bristol, said it was a “fair proposal” but that he was voting “no” to flag it for his caucus.