Lawmakers introduce legislation to help immigrants afford college

Last week, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced the Investing in States to Achieve Tuition Equity (IN-STATE) for Dreamers Act to support tuition programs for low-income students, regardless of immigration status.

The IN-STATE for Dreamers Act establishes the American Dream Grant program, which encourages states to increase access to higher education for low-income students, regardless of immigration status.

The program would provide $750 million in need-based student financial aid to states that set equitable in-state tuition rates or offer state financial aid to the thousands of undocumented students who graduate from American high schools each year.

“All qualified students should have the same opportunities to get a college degree, regardless of their immigration status,” Murray said. “Undocumented students are no different than their classmates. They live in the same towns, attend the same schools and share the same dreams – and they deserve an equal chance to go to college and start successful careers in this country.”

U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) have also signed on as original co-sponsors of this legislation.

“As an immigrant who came to this country at a young age, I know that education can be a great equalizer,” said Sen. Hirono. “I’ve had the privilege to meet many inspiring DREAMers who just want an opportunity to work hard and contribute to the country they call home.”

Officials at Washington State University and the University of Washington both support the legislation, as well.

“Access and affordability for all of our students is a priority of WSU, regardless of immigrant status,” said John Fraire, VP for Student Affairs & Enrollment, Washington State University.

University of Washington officials said students who have put in the work deserve the reward of higher education.

“In many instances, these students came to the U.S. through no fault of their own and they desire the same access to the American dream as other groups before them,” said Shelia Edwards Lange, Vice President for Minority Affairs and Vice Provost for Diversity at the University of Washington. “It is time to provide access to this option so they can become full participants and contributing members of our society.”



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