TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Ronald L. Rice and Sandra Bolden Cunningham to allow a student who is also an undocumented alien to pay in-state tuition at the State’s public institutions of higher education and community colleges was approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today.
“This is about equity and fairness, but it is also about economics,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “When young people get college degrees, they earn more, have better lives, and contribute more to the state’s economy. There is no question that state policy should support incentives to help as many young people as possible go to college.”
The bill, S-1036, would make students who attended at least
three years of high school in New Jersey eligible for in-state college
tuition. The student would also have to have graduated from a state high
school or attained the equivalent of a high school diploma in New
Jersey. In addition, it would require undocumented students to file an
affidavit with the college or university stating they filed an
application to legalize their immigration status or will do so as soon
as they become eligible.
“This bill is about justice and the overdue policy shift that
acknowledges the reality of the global economy,” said Senator
Cunningham, D-Hudson. “Although colleges and Universities can offer
undocumented students admission, undocumented students – including those
who have literally been raised in New Jersey, do not qualify for the
in-state tuition rate, nor do they qualify for financial aid. These
young adults are the future of New Jersey. Their success and the
prosperity of this State are inextricably linked.”
Senator Cunningham added that, “In a State and country loosing
manufacturing jobs by the thousands, an educated workforce is essential
to maintaining our standard of living. We must train the future
workforce for the jobs that currently exist, and for the jobs that will
be created down the line.”
The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.