Gov Malloy Signs CT In State Tuition Bill

On July 7th, Governor Malloy signed into law the Connecticut In State Tuition Bill. Our state is now the 12th state in the US to allow undocumented students to pay the In State Tuition rate at public colleges and universities, as opposed to the much more expensive out of state rate.  To qualify, students must have attended a CT high school for 4 years, graduated and file a statement with their college or university saying they will apply for legal residency when eligible to do so.

 
The signing ceremony was held at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven. Present there were those from around the state who worked hard to make this DREAM a reality.  Students and supporters filled the Wilbur Cross High School Atrium. It was great to see a sizable contingency from my group, CT Students for a DREAM present. The gathering was an excellent opportunity for us to celebrate the passage of this bill, which will help enable many of us to pursue a higher education.  Also there were students and supporters from a group called Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut (CONECT). This interfaith organization of congregations from New Haven and Fairfield counties did much work for the Bill.

 
The press conference began with Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman introducing Maria Praeli, who spoke for the undocumented students. Maria, a high school junior, spoke about her experience applying for college, when the “sky is the only limit message” from her teachers came “shattering down” because she knew she could not afford college, saying “It was kind of like a reality that I didn’t want to accept. I considered the whole thing unfair.” She ended by saying, “By signing this bill into law, you have opened one more door,” she said. “You have brought us one step closer to pursuing our dreams of higher education, and in doing so, granted us the opportunity to become professionals and continue to be contributors to our communities, our state, and our country – the United States of America.”

 
Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney (D-New Haven ), who was the main supporter of the bill in the Senate also spoke, “For years I have fought for this fair and compassionate legislation to become law, and with the signing of this bill, the fight is finally over. Today, we celebrate this new law that will literally change lives not only in this community, but across Connecticut,” he said. “This law will help higher education become accessible for deserving, hard working students who are pursuing the American Dream and ensure that these young adults don’t suffer for a decision their parents made very long ago.”

 
Governor Malloy ended the conference by re-affirming the necessity of the Bill, “These are children who live in Connecticut, contribute to our economy and are part of the fabric of our state. This bill isn’t controversial, it’s common sense.”

 
Advocates and students then gathered around the Governor as he signed the Bill. Afterwards, there were many group photos taken, to celebrate all the people across the state who worked so hard for this bill. Many have been working for over 6 years.

 
CT Students for a DREAM is proud that this long-awaited Bill has become law, and thanks those who have fought for it. Because of this Bill, hundreds of students across CT, and several in our own group, will now be able take their dreams off hold and pursue the higher education they have always dreamed of. Further, the passage of this Bill finally acknowledges what we have known all along, that we, as undocumented students, are residents of Connecticut, or as Gov Malloy put it “part of the fabric” of this great state.

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