President Trump may be vowing to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, but that isn’t stopping a group of undocumented immigrant students from having their voices heard during a hearing in Connecticut. The hearing was looking at whether or not they should receive financial aid from colleges and universities run by the state.
Next week, the Connecticut General Assembly’s Higher Education Committee is slated to hold hearings on a bill that would provide illegal immigrant students access to financial aid. The aid in question is bankrolled by the tuition all students at the state schools pay. Proponents of the bill say immigrant students already pay into the college fund, but then they can’t apply to access any of the money in it. Republicans were against the idea, arguing that legal residents of the state could be pushed out of the aid pool if illegal immigrant students gained access to funding. In short, state residents would have to pay more to attend college as a result.
The legislation, which was approved by the Senate in April, still needs the support of the Connecticut House of Representatives. It would enable certain students who do not have legal immigration status to access institutional financial assistance while attending an in-state public college or university. Under the proposal, the immigrant students would be able to take advantage of financial assistance programs including tuition waivers and remissions, grant funding, and student employment opportunities.
All aid would be funded by the state’s higher education tuition revenue. According to a report in the Connecticut Mirror last spring, proponents of the bill said they think it will pass this time because it has the backing of CT House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey. Bills similar in nature have been proposed by the state before, but they failed to get by the General Assembly.
During the hearings, immigrant students are expected to come out to express support for the bill with the Associated Press reporting that there could be large numbers of illegal immigrant students. This move comes at a time when people across the globe are getting more vocal against polices they deem unfair or discriminatory. Late last month, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund lodged a lawsuit against Wells Fargo in a Los Angeles court arguing that the bank denied private student loans to students who were part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA enables young immigrants who are not in the U.S. legally (but have social security numbers and other documentation) to borrow money for college.
Author: Dave Rathmanner
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