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Legislature To Vote On Financial Aid For ‘Dreamers’

Claudia Torrens

In Connecticut undocumented students are urging lawmakers to pass two bills that would allow them to have access to institutional financial aid at public colleges and universities. On Tuesday a dozen students are expected to present petitions to House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz asking for a vote on the bills.

Carolina Bortolleto, one of the students who’ll be delivering the thousands of petitions, says it’s important to get the support of Speaker Aresimowicz, a Democrat from Berlin.

”He’s the one who has the power to bring up the bill for a vote. And we believe that if he gets behind this bill, we can pass this bill this year and have a really important impact on the lives of lot of students here in the state.”

Bortolleto says regardless of immigration status, all students should have access to institutional financial aid because the funds are from student fees.

“All it will do is to allow undocumented students to be able to apply to get access to the pool of funds that they already pay into.”

She says the legislature’s Office  of Fiscal Analysis has already determined that allowing undocumented students access to the funds will cost taxpayers nothing.

Undocumented students are not eligible for state or federal financial aid programs. In the past two years similar bills have passed in the Connecticut Senate but died in the House. Opponents say that allowing undocumented students access to the funds would reduce the amount of money available to students who are legally in the country.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.
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