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Connecticut Dreamers Demand Access to State Financial Aid

by Christine Stuart | May 20, 2014 4:52pm
(15) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Education, Immigration, Legal, Hartford

Christine Stuart photo

Lucas Codognolla and Junior Sierra

Six Connecticut Dreamers walked out of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office Tuesday disappointed that he refused to immediately agree that undocumented students should have access to financial aid.

“He said he wants concrete information and case studies about what other states have been doing and we feel we have provided this information to him previously,” Lucas Codognolla, lead coordinator for CT Students for A Dream, said. “We will send his office this information again, but we will hold his office accountable for taking action on this issue.”

Codognolla is just one of the more than 1,000 Connecticut Dreamers. Dreamers are students who are the children of undocumented immigrants and who came to this country as children and attend the state’s public schools, but through no fault of their own are in the country illegally.

In 2011, they were given the opportunity to pay in-state tuition rates at the state’s public colleges and universities, but what they want now is access to institutional financial aid. In 2013, legislation that would have granted them access to this aid failed to get raised for a public hearing.

The pot of money the Dreamers are after comes from the 15 percent portion of tuition revenue that’s redistributed back to the student body through “need based” scholarships. Dreamers who attend colleges in Connecticut pay more than $8,500 annually and some of that money goes into that fund they are never able to access.

The Dreamers, who feel it’s an issue of fairness, have refused to give up on the issue. They began attending Malloy’s town hall events around the state to ask him to support their cause.

Junior Sierra, of Norwalk, confronted the governor at his first town hall in February.

Sierra, who was brought to the United States from Honduras when he was 6 years old, said he won a $20,000 scholarship to Quinnipiac University for coming in first place in a science fair. He later learned he would be unable to accept it because of his undocumented status.

“I’m still trying to keep my options open,” Sierra, 18, said.

Christine Stuart photo

Dreamers wait to hear about the meeting the six had with Gov. Malloy

He said he has had some interest from Fairfield University, but at the moment he is busy balancing school and a job. He said his challenge at the moment is finding enough money to take the SATs.

Andrew Doba, Malloy’s spokesman, said Malloy was one of the first governors to sign a state Dream Act and has made improving educational opportunities one of his top priorities.

“We’re happy to listen and we’re happy to get some documents from them on a path forward,” Doba said.

Codognolla said the governor kept reminding them that he signed the Dream Act back in 2011.

“But we all know it was because of our advocacy that it got passed,” he told a small group of Dreamers outside the state Capitol on Tuesday.

The Dreamers said they would have the documents to the administration by the end of the week.

There’s a difference of opinion about whether the governor can do this on his own or if he needs legislative action.

According to the National Conference of State Legislators, California, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington currently allow undocumented students to receive state financial aid. There are another 18 states that offer undocumented students in-state tuition rates.

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(15) Comments

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | May 20, 2014  5:50pm

DrHunterSThompson

Give them an inch .......

HST

posted by: RogueWriteInPeltoReporterCT | May 20, 2014  9:06pm

RogueWriteInPeltoReporterCT

Yo, dreamers,
Wayne here. I tried to tell you on your site: the Malloy administration’s higher education policies are not kind to immigrants, not if what you want is to actually go to college. If someone from the administration “persuaded” you otherwise, they have a track record of refusing to concede the bad news, serial misleading if you will. The only ones who are on your side are Jonathan Pelto, and to a lesser extent, Mayor Mark Boughton. I would recommend you put your efforts behind one of them.

posted by: dano860 | May 20, 2014  11:35pm

No documents, no cash! Not eligible.
I lived in Japan for two years, they don’t have this problem. The whole family is deported back to their homeland when they are discovered. We are to lax with our laws, then we wonder why we have so many headaches and expenses. Sure they are great people and we gave them great educations but now they feel entitled? I don’t agree.

posted by: 319Watson | May 21, 2014  7:44am

I can not believe the audacity of these people.  They are “disappointed that he refused to immediately agree that undocumented students should have access to financial aid.”!  Are you kidding me?
I’m disappointed that the laws of the land are not enforced by our elected officials and these illegals are not deported.  Also, think about this, if they get through college where are they going to work?  They can not work in the U.S. legally and don’t kid yourself thinking they will apply for legal citizenship.  They know very well that the American degree they are seeking is worth a tremendous amount in the countries of their birth.  We pay for their college and they go home and live like kings.

posted by: UConnHoop | May 21, 2014  8:53am

Is it April 1 again?  But, then again, how could anyone not see that once the Dems gave discounted college tuition to people who are here illegally it would lead to this.  Here’s my suggestion to these kids; apply for citizenship just like all the other LEGAL immigrants who came before you.

posted by: Historian | May 21, 2014  9:04am

The problem is that these people are ILLEGAL. If X steals a car does X get to keep it?  If X sells it and dies does his family inherit the stolen value of the car?

posted by: Noteworthy | May 21, 2014  12:18pm

It is highly offensive that any Dreamer can “demand” access to financial aide. The kids are here illegally and it is through the good wishes of the taxpayers in this state, that they have been educated and taken care of all these years. What they should demand, is that their parents pay for them to go to college, not demand that taxpayers foot the bill and subsidize them more than we have already. There are several paths to citizenship - I suggest these kids go down one instead of sitting on their backsides demanding handouts.

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 21, 2014  2:59pm

We dont have the cojones to deal with this appropriately.

If our society has needs to train people in certain areas then maybe we can tell these people that we will help them but this is the area of study you will learn. After we train you if you decide to move to another country with these skills you are no longer allowed in the US and if we catch you back here should you do that, we will put you behind barbed wire in a Utah desert.

If you don’t leave,  we hope you have wonderful productive career here in the US.

Now having said that there is bound to be some bleeding heart lib saying “what right do you have telling someone what they can study.?

Uhh…they are lucky we dont put them in jail. We would be paying for it and I dont think I should be paying for a sociology degree, and if I’m paying for it you arent taking this to another country unless you never want to come back here.

posted by: justsayin | May 21, 2014  9:27pm

Simple solution, if you do not like it leave. Go somewhere where you can all you demand.

Right on HST.

posted by: RogueWriteInPeltoReporterCT | May 22, 2014  1:03am

RogueWriteInPeltoReporterCT

So, as you have seen, Dreamers, finding someone who will have your back can be tough, with what you guys have stacked against you politically in this country and this state. There are people right here on this comment board who take none too kindly to your dreams. Make friends where you find them; you might have hit the end of the road with Malloy. So if you feel like reaching out…

posted by: art vandelay | May 22, 2014  6:13am

art vandelay

The “Dreamers” have two options, become legal citizens or leave. They have no right to demand anything.

posted by: IOU | May 22, 2014  7:26am

IOU

nightmare

posted by: 319Watson | May 22, 2014  8:07am

“Six Connecticut Dreamers walked out of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office Tuesday disappointed that he refused to immediately agree that undocumented students should have access to financial aid.”

Incredible!  What right do they have to be disappointed that the Governor refused to immediately give them access to financial aid?  They are not here legally, they can not work here legally so what good will a college degree do them?  The only good it will do is make them extremely marketable in their “HOME” country once they get their free education and disappear back “HOME”.  They have broken the law so why aren’t the laws of the land enforced?

posted by: Jesterr72 | June 8, 2014  1:22am

Who the hell are these illegal aliens to demand anything????  They are damn lucky they are still here at all.  I’m sick of my taxes going to a State that is already broke and these people DEMAND more?  Malloy better get a grip - we’re fed up.

posted by: Joebigjoe | June 8, 2014  12:06pm

Jester, how dare you say that. I can feel the hate and I will call the political correct police to send you to a re-education camp.

The fact of the matter is that what Jester said is very close to what most people think but won’t say.