With the country seemingly divided about President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. A group of lawmakers and undocumented immigrant college students in Connecticut called on state lawmakers to pass a bill that gives undocumented immigrant college students access to financial aid.
The bill, dubbed “Afford to Dream,” would give undocumented state residents in Connecticut attending an in-state school access to a pool of financial aid that in-state students can use to fund a portion of their college education. Under the proposal, state colleges and universities would be able to give financial aid to undocumented students from that pool of funds.
According to The Day, Connecticut Senator Beth Bye, Co-Chairwoman of the Higher Education and Employment Committee, said roughly 15 percent of tuition payments are contributed to the fund that can only be tapped by citizens and legal immigrants. The bill would open up this fund to undocumented immigrants as well. The bill would not require increased taxes on Connecticut citizens, though. Instead, the fund would simply be available to a larger group of people.
>>Read More: Student Loans for Immigrants
The bill has faced opposition from Republicans who argue less college students will receive aid if the program is opened up to undocumented immigrants. They also believe it could result in less aid to those who already receive it, as more people will be depending on the pool which would not be increasing in size.
In addition, with Trump threatening to pull federal funding to states that shield undocumented immigrants, there’s fear the bill would lose federal funding if it was passed. In the past three sessions of the General Assembly in Connecticut, the bill did not win approval, and it’s likely to have an uphill battle for the fourth time around.
Still that didn’t stop Jose Diaz – an undocumented college student in Connecticut who came to the country from Mexico ten years ago – and state legislators – including John Brady, Executive Vice President of AFT Connecticut, and Sen. Bye – from calling for the bill’s passage during a press conference last week.
The passage of the “Afford to Dream” bill is taking on renewed urgency given President Trump’s stance on Mexico and illegal immigrants. With Trump already signing an executive order that starts the process to build the wall and with Republicans showing support for the multibillion dollar project, opponents are fighting back. “This is a part of our population that grows our economy,” Sen. Bye said at the press conference. “This matters to improving our workforce.”
Author: Andrew Rombach
Join the LendEDU Newsletter
News, insights, & tips once a weekThanks for submittingPlease Enter a valid email
Student Loan Guides
Student Loan Reviews