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Up to 100 immigrant students from Connecticut will now be eligible to get, for the first time, part of their education paid for with scholarship money.

TheDream.US, the nation’s largest scholarship program for DREAMers – immigrant youth who came to the country without documentation – in partnership with the states of Connecticut and Delaware, Tuesday announced that Eastern Connecticut State University will participate in a new scholarship program for DREAMers, who are unable to access financial aid.

TheDream.US will provide 100 scholarships of up to $7,250 each to Connecticut DREAMers attending Eastern Connecticut State University.

No state funds will be spent on the program.

“We’re pleased to take part in this program and do what we can to give hardworking students the chance to succeed,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Tuesday.

Malloy added: “Our state stands to benefit from welcoming them – along with their talents and potential – to our communities and to our schools.”

ECSU and Delaware State University are the two colleges participating in the program.

Efforts to pass legislation in the General Assembly to give Connecticut college students access to financial aid regardless of immigration status failed. A bill passed the Senate, by a 21-13 vote, but got stalled in the House, never coming up for a vote.

The undocumented students were a constant presence outside the House and Senate chambers, often in their caps and gowns, trying to force a vote on the legislation.
In Connecticut, public colleges and universities set aside a portion of tuition revenue, $140 million, to be used as “institutional aid” to assist students with financial need.

Undocumented immigrant students say it is unfair that they pay full tuition, contribute towards this institutional aid, yet they are not allowed to access institutional aid themselves.

“Education is an American value; we should help every student who has worked hard,” said Donald E. Graham, co-founder of The.Dream.US. “TheDream.US Opportunity Scholarship will help immigrant students fulfill their dreams of obtaining a college education so they can better the lives of their families, communities, and our nation.

Graham continued: “We are proud to partner with Eastern Connecticut State University and Delaware State University, with the incredible leadership of Governor Malloy and Governor Markell, to give deserving students the opportunity for an affordable college education.”

TheDream.US founders said they are also working with local philanthropists to raise additional funds for scholarships for Connecticut and Delaware students.

Connecticut is one of 19 states that offers undocumented students in-state tuition at public colleges and universities.