Undocumented College Students Need Financial Aid, Too

Jan 15, 2014

Credit zimmytws/iStock / Thinkstock

It's been two years since the in-state tuition law went into effect. It benefits students without legal status who have graduated from a Connecticut high school. The young people who fought for the in-state tuition law for undocumented students are launching a new campaign. Their new goal is to help these students access financial aid.  

Carolina Bortoletto, a coordinator for Connecticut Students 4 A Dream, explained that the in-state tuition law has not helped as many students as supporters had hoped. The reason? She said undocumented students are just like other college students who need financial help to pay for college.

Right now, Bortoletto said state law shuts them out from getting what's called institutional aid. "Undocumented students pay all of the cost out of their pockets to the school as tuition," she said, "but aren't allowed to access the scholarships that come from their tuition money."

This issue of whether to allow financial aid for undocumented students was brought up by opponents of the in-state tuition bill. But Bortoletto said need-based scholarships don't come from state or federal government money. She said undocumented students who are paying their tuition at one of Connecticut's 12 community colleges or four state universities should be able to apply for need-based aid.

A bill to allow all in-state students to be eligible to apply for financial aid failed last session. However, Connecticut Students 4 a Dream is scheduling community meetings over the next few months to work on gathering support.