HARTFORD – The House of Representatives today approved a bill, amended by the Senate, which grants financial aid to illegal immigrant students. State Representative Prasad Srinivasan (R-Glastonbury), however, voted in opposition to the legislation.
This bill allows illegal immigrant students financial aid to attend a state public higher education institution (i.e., UConn and the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities), raises the age by which such students must have arrived in the United States from 15 to 16, and changes the date by which such students are eligible for aid from Fall 2019 to January 1, 2020, or when Congress provides a pathway to citizenship.
“Institutional dollars provide financial aid to students and these dollars are not limitless,” said Rep. Srinivasan. “They are already fully utilized and paid for by the tuition that students – legal citizens – invest into their education. Our legal citizens need this financial aid. By granting financial aid to illegal immigrant students we are in fact taking away necessary and long-relied upon financial support from our legal citizens. Illegal immigrant students are not eligible for federal financial aid.”
Several amendments were introduced to improve this legislation. One such amendment would have required all students without legal immigration status that are eligible for financial aid to first comply with all United States citizenship and immigration policies and protocols for approval to the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. Another would have required all public institutions of higher education to adopt policies to exempt tuition payments made by full-time or part-time students who are not eligible for institutional financial aid from the requirement and to set aside funds for such aid. Unfortunately these amendments were defeated.
“Tuition costs are raising,” said Rep. Srinivasan. “College education is almost becoming unaffordable. We need a sound, viable plan to help our legal citizens and not reduce the aid they deserve.”
This bill was ultimately passed by the House of Representatives with a vote of 91-59. It now awaits a signature from the governor.