GOV. MALLOY HAILS BILL EXPANDING EDUCATIONAL ACCESS, OPPORTUNITY FOR CONNECTICUT STUDENTS
(HARTFORD, CT) - At a ceremonial bill signing Thursday afternoon at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven, Governor Dannel P. Malloy hailed a measure granting in-state college tuition rates for the state's public colleges and universities to undocumented Connecticut students. The in-state rates are extended only to those who have completed at least four years of high school within the state, where they also must have graduated or earned an equivalent diploma.
The Governor was joined by legislators, students and advocates, who applauded the change in the law as an opportunity for young men and women to increase their access to a higher education and ultimately their ability to compete in a global economy.
"At a time when we need to be helping our state's young men and women prepare for an ever-changing economy and compete with their counterparts in China, Japan and elsewhere, helping make a college degree more accessible and affordable for those students who choose to pursue one is critically important," Governor Malloy said. "These are children who live in Connecticut, contribute to our economy and are part of the fabric of our state. This bill isn't controversial, it's common sense."
At the University of Connecticut, undergraduate full-time tuition and fees are $10,670 a year for residents versus $27,566 for nonresidents. Tuition and fees to the four Connecticut State University schools are roughly $8,248 for residents versus $18,872 for nonresidents. At the Connecticut Community College system, annual tuition and fees for residents is $3,490 versus $10,430 for nonresidents.
By law, with limited exceptions, eligibility for in-state tuition is based on an applicant's permanent home and the place where he or she intends to remain and return to when he or she leaves. Students seeking in-state rates under the new law will be required to sign affidavits saying they've applied to legalize their immigration status or plan to as soon as they can.
"For years I have fought for this fair and compassionate legislation to become law, and with the signing of this bill, the fight is finally over. Today, we celebrate this new law that will literally change lives not only in this community, but across Connecticut," Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney (D-New Haven, Hamden) said. "The concept is simple: all state residents and graduates of Connecticut high schools should be able to attend community colleges and state universities at the in-state tuition rate regardless of their immigration status. This law will help higher education become accessible for deserving, hard working students who are pursuing the American Dream and ensure that these young adults don't suffer for a decision their parents made very long ago."
State Representative Juan Candelaria (D-New Haven) said, "I thank Governor Malloy for signing this historic bill into law. I am pleased the Governor has seen fit to prioritize this important measure for our community. Now, young people who are working to pursue a better life won't be penalized and will have equal access to higher education."
Maria Praeli, a student in New Milford's public school system since she was in kindergarten and currently a rising senior at New Milford High School, whose family came to the United States from Peru when she was five years-old, said the change will allow students like her to pursue their dreams. "By signing this bill into law, you have opened one more door," she said. "You have brought us one step closer to pursuing our dreams of higher education, and in doing so, granted us the opportunity to become professionals and continue to be contributors to our communities, our state, and our country - the United States of America."
For Immediate Release: July 7, 2011
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