WNPR

Undocumented Students In Connecticut Continue To Fight For Right To Financial Aid

Mar 15, 2018

Right now, every student at a public college in Connecticut, including those who are undocumented must pay a portion of their tuition towards a financial aid fund. But undocumented students are not allowed to apply for the aid they help to fund.

Undocumented students held a day of action Thursday at the state Capitol to get support for a bill that would equalize institutional student aid.

For the fourth straight year, a bill aimed at changing aid inequality has made it out of the Higher Education Committee. With only two ‘no votes’ the measure now goes to the full legislature.

That’s where it’s failed three years in a row.

“I think this year we are already in a better place because the leadership already wants to talk about this bill and how we can make this happen,” said Carolina Bortolleto, a communications and grants manager for CT Students 4 A Dream. “So, I think we have more allies on both sides of the aisle who do want to see this happen.”

Gabriela Valdiglesias, 18, goes to Manchester Community College. She came with her family from Peru to Connecticut after she was born. She said she and her three siblings are currently enrolled in college —with no financial aid.

“My father, every year, has to pay more than $50,000 out-of-pocket, along with other bills of necessity,” Valdiglesias said.

"OUR DREAMS CAN'T WAIT!!" was another phrase spelled out by representatives of CT Students 4 A Dream Thursday during their day of action in Hartford.
Credit Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The group of undocumented students presented 250 letters of support for the bill to an aide for Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz.

Bortolleto is not sure if it will go to the house next for a vote. She said it’s possible a separate bill may be created in the Senate.