Since this was passed by the General Assembly but vetoed by Governor Rell, hopefully with a Democratic governor at the helm, the dream of in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants will finally become a reality in Connecticut.
The New Haven Independent has the details:
On the heels of an ambitious city program to help New Haven kids afford college, Democratic politicians vowed to even the playing field for undocumented students like Lorella Praeli.
Praeli (pictured) a 22-year-old originally from Peru, came “out of the shadows” for the first time Thursday to announce that she is living in the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant. She said she was lucky enough to land a full ride to Quinnipiac University through a private scholarship. Otherwise, she would have had to pay three times the rate of in-state tuition at an in-state college or university.
At a press event at Southern Connecticut State University, members of New Haven’s state legislative delegation pledged to help students like Praeli by passing a bill next session that would grant in-state tuition to all Connecticut residents who graduate from state high schools, regardless of immigration status. State Sen. Martin Looney, state Rep.-elect Roland Lemar, and state Reps. Gary Holder-Winfield and Juan Candelaria all attended the event in support of the legislation.
In the current system, undocumented immigrant students have to pay out-of-state tuition rates that are three times higher than in-state rates at public Connecticut universities and colleges. For example, most of Praeli’s friends ended up at the University of Connecticut, where in-state tuition is $8,000. Praeli would have had to pay $24,500.
Eleven states have passed laws granting in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants who can prove residency, according to Looney. The legislature approved a bill in 2007, but it was vetoed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell. He said it was “pointless” to try again while Rell was still in office.
Now, with the first Democrat elect to the governor’s seat in 24 years, the prospects have changed.
Gov.-elect Dan Malloy “would sign a bill that grants in-state tuition to any graduate from a Connecticut high school living in the state,” said his spokeswoman, Colleen Flanagan.