New UConn admissions website tab informs undocumented students of in-state tuition and application process
For the first time, UConn undergraduate admissions has added a visible tab on their website informing undocumented students of their eligibility for in-state tuition, a national and local issue that many undocumented UConn students have fought to address over the years.
The new tab was added on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. The subhead, underneath "Undocumented Students," reads, in all capital letters, "ALL STUDENTS WELCOME HERE."
Last year, undocumented students, including members of CT Students for a Dream, created an Undocupeer Training program that acknowledged “the lack of information spread amongst the general staff of UConn and the alienating and disparaging experiences shared by undocumented student leaders at UConn upon their application and enrollment at the university,” according to a Daily Campus article. This new webpage, clarifying information for undocumented students applying to UConn, is a result of said students working with the university administration.
For their part, CT Students for a Dream trumpeted the webpage as a success in a Facebook post:
“VICTORY! After much work from our team at Storrs, CT, UConn has added a page on their admission website specifically for undocumented students!”
The tab brings attention to a 2011 law that allows undocumented students and DACA students who attend the University of Connecticut to receive in-state tuition. Students with green cards have always had access to in-state tuition.
Undocumented students are eligible for in-state tuition if they reside in Connecticut, attended any educational institution in this state and completed at least two years of high school level education in Connecticut, graduated from a high school in this state or the equivalent and is registered as an entering student or is enrolled at a public institution of higher education in this state, according to the 2015 House Bill No. 6844 from the House of Representatives. This bill was updated from the original 2011 House Bill No. 6390.
“In recent years, the number of undocumented undergraduate students who’ve attended UConn in a given year has ranged from about 25 to 45,” UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said. “As of last spring, 90 UConn students in total had identified themselves as undocumented and received in-state rates since 2011, when the state law was approved.”
According to UConn’s admissions website, “(UConn) encourages all academically accomplished students who are ready to take the next step in reaching their higher educational goals to apply for admission, regardless of citizenship status.”
The website states that this includes students who may have just found out about their immigration status while going through the college admissions process.
The application process does not vary based on citizen or immigration status. However, citizenship and immigration status questions differ between applications for admission through Common Application, Coalition Application or UConn Application. A social security number is not a required field on the applications and can be left blank, according to the website.
Undocumented students do not qualify for state or federal financial aid, something that these students have consistently fought for, and are instead encouraged to find scholarship opportunities from private sources, the admissions website said.
Students with an F or J visa who are admitted to Connecticut public universities are charged out-of-state tuition. A dual intent visa (H or L) holder is eligible for admission to UConn, but will be charged out-of-state tuition until they have filed an application for permanent residency and have satisfied the residency requirements in Connecticut, according to the state Office of Legislative Research.
While there are students on campus who support this law, others feel differently.
First-semester civil engineering major Andre McNeil questions the fairness. “As an out-of-state student who is from the United States, I find it unfair that UConn is allowing (undocumented students) to pay in-state tuition,” he said. “This means that I have to pay more than (undocumented students), and this is my home country.”
Yet for many undocumented students, they feel that this is their home country as well. Joseline Tlacomulco, a third-semester human rights and political science double major, emigrated to the U.S. from Mexico when she was eight months old, Tlacomulco said in an earlier interview with The Daily Campus.
Tlacomulco now works with a program called United We Dream to make sure the Financial Aid and Admissions offices at UConn can provide undocumented students with the information they need.
Megan Krementowski is associate life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.