For many young undocumented immigrants, college is a pipe dream -- not because they lack the grades or the ambitions, but because they can’t afford the cost of paying out-of-state tuition.
However, lawmakers are now taking steps to make it easier for students who lack immigration status to attend in-state universities. In the last year, New Jersey and three other states passed statutes that will allow students who came to the U.S. as minors to pay in-state tuition.
According to reporting conducted by The Associated Press, fifteen states now have such a statute, and university boards in Hawaii, Michigan, and Rhode Island have granted undocumented students in-state tuition as well. According to Ann Morse of the National Conference of State Legislatures, students can quality by meeting certain requirements, such as living in the state for a set number of years.
Supporters of immigrants rights’ are now lobbying for a related issue: making these students eligible for further benefits, such as state financial aid, scholarships, and grants. Three states - California, New Mexico, and Texas - already have laws giving undocumented students these rights.
According to The American Association of State Colleges and Universities, 65,000 students living illegally in the United States graduated from high school each year. Of that number, about 5 to 10 percent go to college. These students are caught in the limbo, as they struggle to find a way to pay for their degree.
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