January 16, 2014

Murray Introduces Bill to Provide In-State Tuition for DREAMer Students

By Sarah Castro

Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced the Investing IN States To Achieve Tuition Equity (IN-STATE) for Dreamers Act of 2014The 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. This 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.

American Dream Grants would supplement state financial aid funding, in order to increase higher education affordability for all students. States would qualify for grants by allowing in-state tuition for undocumented students or by expanding access to state financial aid for these students. This legislation is not a state mandate and is fully paid for. Already 19 states, including Washington, currently offer in-state tuition for undocumented students.

At the state level, the Washington State legislature is currently considering a similar measure called the Washington State DREAM Act which would offer need-based aid to undocumented students. Several other states, including California, Texas, Illinois, and New Mexico, already offer need-based grants to undocumented students.

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

The University of Washington, Washington State University, Colorado State University and the University of Hawaii have voiced their support of the bill.

Additional information on the legislation is here.

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