Connecticut Students for a Dream Begin Battle at the Capitol

Connecticut Students for a Dream (C4D) conducted a press conference in the Legislative Office Building Wednesday afternoon.

The group held the event to urge the Connecticut General Assembly to pass a bill legalizing institutional financial aid for undocumented students, formally calling the movement the “Afford to Dream Campaign 2016.”

“Undocumented Connecticut students without immigration status pay full tuition, contributing towards this institutional aid,” a preemptory press release read. “Yet Connecticut does not allow undocumented students access [to the accumulated tuition money] to receive institutional aid themselves.”

University of Connecticut student and member of C4D Varun Khattar, an eighth-semester sociology major, talked about the organization and his involvement in it. 

“Connecticut Students for a Dream is a statewide network of undocumented immigrant youth and allies fighting for educational equity founded in 2011 after the failure of the Dream Act to pass the U.S. Senate,” Khattar said. “It is run mostly by volunteers, with a few part-time staff and paid organizers.”

This press conference essentially re-launched a campaign to pass the bill. Last legislative session, the state Senate voted to pass the bill 24-12, but it was never called to a vote in the House.

UConn student Alison Martinez, a tenth-semester urban and community studies major, is directly affected by the state policy barring undocumented immigrants from receiving institutional aid.

She hopes for the bill to come to fruition, meaning undocumented students can “finally access the pool of money that we have been paying into with our tuition,” Martinez said.

“My journey as an undocumented student at UConn has required me to pay for tuition out of pocket without receiving any institutional financial aid, and due to my immigration status I am limited [in terms of] scholarships,” Martinez said. “Each semester I worry because I never know if I will be able to afford to stay in school. I am not alone facing this uncertainty in higher education.”

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