Posted on May 1, 2018 by admin
HARTFORD – State Rep. Lezlye Zupkus voted no on legislation last week that would give institutional aid funds to undocumented students and give a 2 percent salary increase to graduate teachers and research assistants. Both bills passed the House by narrow margins.
The first bill, S.B. 4 – An Act Assisting Students without Legal Immigration Status with the Cost of College – extends eligibility for institutional financial aid to attend a state public higher education institution to certain students, including those who lack legal immigration status. The bill extends eligibility for aid to these students, to the extent allowed by federal law, if they meet certain residency, age, and criminal history requirements and file an affidavit about their intent to legalize their immigration status with the institution they are attending.
“College is unaffordable and the state of Connecticut isn’t making it easy for hardworking taxpayers to pay for college,” said Rep. Zupkus. “This legislation will result in legal students having more debt and less aid, and for that reason, I couldn’t support this bill.”
Rep. Zupkus added, “Republicans repeatedly tried to make this legislation better, but our amendments were blocked every time by the majority party.”
The amendment, supported by Rep. Zupkus, would have abolished institutional aid at public universities and colleges, and it would have reduced the amount of tuition charged to students.
The second piece of legislation, a collective bargaining agreement between the University of Connecticut and the Graduate Employee Union Local 6950, would not only give a 2 percent salary increase to graduate teachers and research assistants, but will also provide them additional benefits. The additional benefits include 20 days off in an academic year, healthcare and discounted parking.
“Students are coming out of college with more debt and fewer job opportunities in our state,” Rep. Zupkus explained. “It’s not fair that graduate teachers and research assistants will get nearly $40,000 in benefits and students will have to pay for it. We need to be reducing the cost of college not increasing it.”