New Jersey lawmakers voted yesterday to approve a tuition bill that will allow undocumented immigrant youth to take advantage of in-state tuition discounts in the state’s universities.
For years, the immigrant advocacy community and groups like Atlas: DIY, NYSYLC, and the ACLU have been fighting for a bill like this in our respective states. It’s a logical platform to start the immigration debate, and one that we felt would receive the most universal support: let DREAMers take advantage of in-state tuition, so they have a fair chance at obtaining a higher education and contributing to society.
Not everyone shares our vision, however, and similar bills have been struck down in many states. With this Monday’s vote, New Jersey will join the 16 states – including New York – that provides in-state tuition for undocumented students.
Marisol Conde-Hernandez, former Rutgers student and co-founder of the NJ Dream Act Coalition, testified in front a panel of lawmakers on her experiences paying for college as an undocumented student.
“Can I contribute more to you as a bartender or as an attorney?” Conde-Hernandez asked the panel.
The average tuition to the public NJ university is $10,356 for an in-state student (according to Rutger’s admission page), a whopping $13,320 less than non-residents. Note that undocumented immigrants still cannot receive federal financial aid or federal loans to help pay for their education.
How do you think NJ’s new tuition regulations with impact higher education rates among the state’s immigration population? Is it enough, or does more need to be done? Share your insights in the comments below!
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