WASHINGTON – Under questioning by Sen. Chris Murphy on Tuesday, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos reversed herself on whether a school can call Immigration and Customs Enforcement on students believed to be undocumented. “I don’t think they can,” she said.
A years-long campaign to allow undocumented students to receive financial aid at Connecticut’s public colleges almost certainly will not achieve its goal this year, and its future chances are in doubt.
One activist’s arrest has offset months of lobbying for a bill that would have allowed undocumented students to receive financial aid at Connecticut’s public colleges.
The Higher Education Committee, for the second year in a row, is expected to approve a bill that would open a $140 million pool of financial aid to undocumented residents at the state’s public colleges.
On May 19, the Connecticut legislature took two important strides in an attempt to achieve educational equity. On that day the Senate passed bill SB 398 and the House passed HB 6844. If these bills pass and are signed by Gov. Dannel Malloy, it would continue to pave the pathway toward educational equity of two disenfranchised groups in Connecticut—undocumented and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) students.
The state House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to expand the number of undocumented immigrants who qualify for much lower in-state tuition rates at Connecticut public colleges. Meanwhile, another bill that would make these students eligible to compete for a $140 million pool of financial aid was approved by the state Senate.
Most Republican legislators on the Higher Education Committee voted Tuesday in favor of opening a $100 million pot of college financial aid to undocumented immigrants. The vote may signal a change of heart among legislative Republicans about providing financial help to undocumented students.
College officials told Diez and the others seeking equal access to the millions of dollars the state’s public colleges give to other low-income students that they cannot legally offer them financial aid.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy told reporters Wednesday that he supports opening state-funded financial aid to undocumented students and will follow the legislature’s lead on the issue.