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Friday, February 22, 2013

House Approves In-State Tuition for Immigrants

Posted by Nathan Gilles on Fri, Feb 22, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Getting a college education in Oregon is on the verge getting a little bit easier for students whose immigration status makes it difficult to afford access to the hallowed halls of Oregon higher ed.

Earlier today, the Oregon House passed HB 2787, otherwise known as the Tuition Equity Bill. If made into law, the bill will give all Oregon students the same in-state tuition reduction regardless of whether they were born here—or taken across the border by their parents when they were babies and just raised like they were born here. And this is a pretty big deal.

In the past, undocumented immigrants had to pay out-of-state tuition costs, which are significantly higher than in-state costs. Case in point, these numbers provided by in a statement by the House Democratic Caucus:

At the University of Oregon, for example, the current average cost of in-state tuition is $37,032 for a four-year degree. The current cost for out-of-state is $114,612, creating a difference of $77,580.

There are some conditions. To qualify, students need to have graduated from an Oregon high school, must have attended that school for at least three years, and must be in the process of becoming a US citizen.

Now that it’s passed the House, the bill is headed to the Senate, where Democrats hold the majority, and where, if past trends hold, it’s likely to pass. It's already gotten a loving nod from Governor John Kitzhaber, whose signature would make it all official.

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