NEW HAVEN MAYOR, STATE LEGISLATORS AND OTHER COMMUNITY LEADERS ANNOUNCE EFFORTS TO SUPPORT IN-STATE TUITION BILL FOR UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS
(11/18/2010) NEW HAVEN— Following last week’s launch of the New Haven Promise program and Wednesday’s unveiling of the New Haven Promise Partnership program, Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. and Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney stood alongside other members of the New Haven Legislative Delegation and community leaders to announce coordinated support for an in-state tuition act. In partnership with Rep. Juan Candelaria, Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, Rep.-elect Roland Lemar, Superintendent Dr. Reginald Mayo and Rev. James Manship, DeStefano and Looney talked about the importance of passing this legislation to allow all state residents and graduates of Connecticut high schools to attend community colleges and state universities at the in-state rate regardless of their immigration status.
“All of our children deserve the opportunity to go to school, work hard and uplift their families and their community. If you live in Connecticut and successfully graduate from a high school here, you should be able to go to a State college or university and pay the same as your neighbor regardless of your immigration status,” said DeStefano. “New Haven Promise will see to it that college is accessible to our kids if they work hard, stay out of trouble, play by the rules and contribute to their community. But, we need to achieve reform at the local and national level so that our children have and maintain college-going aspirations among our undocumented students. This is good for New Haven, good for Connecticut and necessary for our nation’s economy.”
The legislation calls for individuals other than “nonimmigrant aliens” to be entitled to: “classification as an in-state student for tuition purposes, (A) if such person (i) resides in this state, (ii) attended any educational institution in this state and completed at least four years of high school level education in this state, (iii) graduated from a high school in this state, or the equivalent thereof, and (iv) is registered as an entering student, or is enrolled at a public institution of higher education in this state, and (B) if such person is without legal immigration status, such person files an affidavit with the institution of higher education stating that he or she has filed an application to legalize his or her immigration status, or will file such an application as soon as he or she is eligible to do so.”
"These young people are the friends and classmates of our own children and grandchildren. They are Connecticut residents and are American in every way except for the circumstances of their childhood. They should not have to suffer for a decision that their parents made very long ago," Looney said. "It's also important to note that the legislation as passed but vetoed in 2007 did not provide any sort of scholarships or financial aid for these students--it simply allowed them to pay in-state tuition rates."
It is estimated that hundreds of New Haven Public School children would be impacted by this legislation and thousands would benefit statewide.
"Passing this Act is a necessity,” said Candelaria. “It is unfortunate that students who are residents of the state are not treated equally in our higher education system."
Currently, Connecticut residents pay approximately one third of the “out of state” rate currently charged to non-Connecticut residents and to Connecticut students who do not have U.S. citizenship. An act on in-state tuition for all Connecticut high school graduates was passed by the Connecticut Legislature in 2007, but vetoed by Governor Rell on New Haven’s graduation day. Nearly 10 other states, including Texas and California, have already passed bills allowing for in-state tuition for all their residents.
“We believe that in-state tuition for all Connecticut residents will help keep talented students in Connecticut, and will help immigrant students continue their education as they are not eligible for government grants, loans, and work study programs,” said Manship. “The Education Task Force at St. Rose and our wide network of supporters on a state and national level are committed to this effort. This act is a step in the right direction in ensuring that no child’s talent is wasted.”
New Haven Promise is a visionary scholarship and support program for New Haven Public School students and the capstone of the District’s nationally recognized School Change Initiative. Through New Haven Promise, eligible students graduating from every New Haven public high school will receive full tuition (for up to four years) to attend a public college or university in Connecticut or up to $2,500 annually to attend a private nonprofit college or university in the State. (This includes New Haven Public Schools or approved public charter school in the City of New Haven.) These funds will be awarded on a scaled basis depending on how long the student has lived in New Haven and attended an eligible school.
Manship is the Pastor at St. Rose of Lima Church which houses the St. Rose of Lima Education Task Force. This Task Force organizes to prepare students, often undocumented and the first in their families to go to college, for success in their college admissions process. The Task Force has successfully worked to place nearly a dozen students from the New Haven in area colleges and universities in the last three years while also raising funds to help cover the costs of their education.
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