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State Universities Working to Implement New In-State Tuition Law

Courtesy of Flickr CC by No Vision


On Thursday, Governor Dannel Malloy will attend a ceremonial bill signing for a measure that will help illegal immigrant students.

The in state tuition law went into effect July 1, allowing undocumented students who enroll at a state university or community college to be eligible for the in-state tuition rate. As WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, the schools are streamlining the admissions process so these students will be billed correctly.

Citizenship status is not considered in the admissions process when a student applies to attend one of the state's four universities. That's according to Acting Chancellor of the state university system, Dr Louise Feroe. She says the question is asked only to find out where a student resides so schools can bill them for either the in state or out of state tuition rate. The difference between these rates is considerable, about $10,000.

Feroe says before the new law, most illegal immigrants left the citizenship question blank. And each school had a different process when following up. Now she says any undocumented student who applies or who is already enrolled will be asked to fill out an affadavit so they can be billed correctly.

"It's really very simple, it doesn't even take half a sheet of paper. I, student's name, hereby affirm that I reside in Connecticut, have completed four years of high school level education in the state of Connecticut and hold a high school diploma from Connecticut, are registered as an entering student or currently enrolled, and either have filed an application to legalize their status or will file an application when they're eligible."

These students are waiting for Congress to pass the federal Dream Act that would allow them to apply and be granted citizenship without being deported first.  

Feroe says even with the new law some students may be hesitant to sign the affadavit.
She stresses immigration officials do not seek out these records so to deport students

"There needs to be a real communication campaign with these students telling them this is not putting them in jeopardy."

Feroe says the exact number of students who benefit from the new law won't be known until after fall enrollment. She estimates no more than 50 students systemwide.

for WNPR, I'm Lucy Nalpathanchil

Lucy leads Connecticut Public's strategies to deeply connect and build collaborations with community-focused organizations across the state.

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