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Connecticut Policy

Updated As Of: March, 21 2017

 Connecticut offered in-state tuition to unauthorized immigrant students in 2011, and the required number of high school years attended in the state was reduced from four to two years in 2015.

 HB 6844| Student Eligibility requirements

 Legislative History

  • HB 6793 was introduced in 2005. It would have provided qualifying undocumented students with in-state tuition, but failed to pass.
  • HB 5656 was introduced in 2007.  The bill would have provided undocumented students with in-state tuition but was vetoed by the governor in June 2007.
  • HB 6390 was passed on June 13, 2011 and allows undocumented students who meet certain requirements to receive in-state tuition.
  • HB 6844 was passed on June 19, 2015. The bill reduces the number of high school years undocumented students must attend in the state to two years to be eligible for in-state tuition.
  • SB 147 was introduced in 2016. It was passed by the Senate on April 20, 2016 and is currently set aside for later consideration by the House. If passed, it would allow undocumented students receiving in-state tuition to apply for and receive institutional financial aid and student employment.

  • Other Relevant Policies
  • In 2007, New Haven started an ID resident card program which provides government-issued identification cards for all New Haven residents, including undocumented immigrants. Elm City Resident Cards allow residents to open bank accounts and obtain access to public libraries, parks and recreational services, among other things.
  • HB 6495 was passed in June 2013 and allows qualified undocumented immigrants to receive drivers’ licenses. In Governor Malloy’s statement, he mentioned the bill's safety benefits for Connecticut.
  • HB 6659 was passed in June 2013 and protects individuals with a civil immigration detainer from being detained unless the individual presents an unacceptable risk to public safety. 
  • CT Students for a DREAM: DREAMer and ally students that work to empower undocumented students and work towards state financial aid for DREAMers.
  • Center for Latino Progress: Their mission is to advance the socio-economic conditions of Connecticut with a focus on Latinos.
  • CT ACLU: Affiliated with the national organization. ACLU works to protect all people’s rights through education and litigation.
  • International Institute of Connecticut: A nonprofit human services agency that addresses the need to provide new immigrants and refugees in Connecticut with services to help them become self-sufficient, integrated and contributing members of the community.

Federal law has been unsuccessful at addressing comprehensive access to postsecondary education for undocumented students. Despite efforts to pass the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform, Congress has not addressed the current ambiguous language in IIRIRA regarding undocumented students' eligibility for educational benefits (i.e. in-state tuition and state-funded financial aid programs). Therefore, much of the policy activity regarding postsecondary access for undocumented students has shifted to state and system levels. As a result, state policymakers and higher education institutions take varied approaches to either broadening or restricting access to postsecondary education and educational benefits. Others states have yet to take formal action on this issue, leaving the decision to individual campus leaders.

Under the provisions of this ambiguous policy context, undocumented youth encounter contentious environments with policies that range from inclusive, restrictive, or unstipulated stances.

Inclusive: States with policies that explicitly grant in-state tuition and/or eligibility for public financial aid for undocumented students.

Restrictive: States with policies that explicitly deny eligibility for admission and/or in-state tuition for undocumented students.

Unstipulated: States that do not have stated policies that explicitly address undocumented student access to postsecondary education.

State and system policies are volatile and continuously changing. For the latest, please visit the uLEAD NewsdeskFor information specific to individual state context, click in the subheadings below.

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