A bill allowing undocumented Connecticut students to receive equal access to institutional financial aid from state schools recently passed through the Higher Education Committee with bipartisan support.
The bill passed by a vote of 17 to 3. Rep. Tim Ackert, Whit Betts and Will Duff of were the only committee members to vote against the bill. Rep. Holly Cheeseman was absent for the vote.
Mansfield Sen. Mae Flexer and Rep. Greg Haddad both voted in favor of the bill.
Last Thursday, 250 undocumented college students and supporters shared testimony in support of House Bill 5031, also known as the Afford to Dream Act, according to a press release from CT Students for a Dream.
“We can no longer wait. Our lives can no longer wait. Our futures can no longer wait,” DACA recipient and Southern Connecticut State University student Jonathan Gonzalez said. “If politicians in D.C. won't act, our leaders in CT must.”
The group marched through the Hartford Legislative Building, holding signs that spelled out “Our Dreams Can’t Wait,” and then visited the offices of various legislators, according to the press release.
“Today, we made our voices heard and our presence known. As we occupied the lobby of the Legislative Office Building and met with our legislators, we let it be known that our dreams and aspirations can no longer wait,” Yenimar Cores, a DACA recipient and Eastern Connecticut State University student, said. “The positive vote today is an affirmation that our state of Connecticut supports the dreams and the futures of all our residents, no matter where they come from.”
The University of Connecticut Puerto Rican and Latin American Cultural Center hosted a testimonial writing workshop before the public testimony for the bill last month.
Similar proposals passed in the state Senate with bipartisan support in 2015 and 2016 and passed the Higher Education Committee with Bipartisan support in 2017, according to the press release.
“Today, for the third year in a row, the higher education committee cast a bi-partisan vote in favor of equalizing access to institutional aid for undocumented students,” CT Students for a Dream Campaign Manager Camila Bortolleto said. “We are here to say: Get this done—Connecticut stands behind you. Get this done—we can no longer wait.”