In contrast to the drumbeat of anti-immigrant attacks in past
legislative sessions, this year has seen states across the country
proposing in-state college tuition rates for undocumented students, a
move mirrored by Congress' proposed DREAM Act, which was re-introduced at the federal level on March 25th.
States across the country are proposing in-state college tuition rates for undocumented students, a move mirrored by Congress' proposed DREAM Act, which was re-introduced at the federal level on March 25th. Currently ten states allow undocumented immigrants to enroll in state colleges and universities under the cheaper in-state tuition rate category: California, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Washington. In recent years, anti-immigrant legislators sought to modify or repeal laws providing access to in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, though they've failed each time. This session, those efforts failed again in Utah and Nebraska. Kansas didn't even bring up repealing it.
JERSEY CITY, NJ — At a press conference this morning, Gov. Jon Corzine
unveiled the results of his Blue Ribbon Panel on Immigration Policy,
which included recommendations for the establishment of an Office on
New Americans to help integrate immigrant families into the state’s
culture and work force. Policy experts at the Progressive States
Network (PSN) were quick to praise the panel’s recommendations, which
they placed within an emerging trend among state lawmakers to include
working immigrant families into plans for shared economic growth.
According to PSN Interim Executive Director Nathan Newman, who authored
a comprehensive 50-state analysis of state immigration policy last
September, “The story that states are rushing out to punish
undocumented immigrants is really a smoke screen. When you look at the
facts, you see that more and more states are finding ways to integrate
immigrants into a growing workforce and thriving small business
community. States like New Jersey realize that there is a far better
economic future in working together than there is in dividing the
population against itself.”
key to integrating the children of new immigrants into our communities is
making sure they can get a college education.
In 2006, Nebraska joined nine other states that have passed laws,
often called DREAM acts, to provide the in-state tuition rate to undocumented
immigrants who attend state colleges and universities. In 2007, the Connecticut legislature voted to do so as
well, although unfortunately the Governor in that states vetoed the bill. Attempts to repeal Nebraska
DREAM acts failed in both states in 2008.
can also ensure access to state or locally funded financial aid and
scholarships, regardless of immigration status:
California's SB 1, which was enacted
by the legislature in 2007 but vetoed by the governor, would have made
California high school graduates who meet the non-resident in-state
tuition requirements eligible for a fee waiver at community college, and
enabled them to participate in the Cal Grant state financial aid program.
In 2007, New York's proposed
A4653 would have expanded
scholarship opportunities for immigrant students.