Tuition aid for undocumented college students hailed in Colorado

Published January 25, 2013


The wide political backing for a bill in the Colorado legislature to allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public universities appears to assure that the measure will finally pass after six failed attempts.

SB 33, offered by Democratic Sens. Michael Johnston and Angela Giron, was approved this Thursday in the Senate Education Committee by a vote of 6-3.

One Republican, Owen Hill, joined five Democrats in supporting the proposal, speaking after the vote of a "moral duty" to lower tuition for undocumented students in the process of legalizing their status or benefited by the federal Deferred Action program.

The bill has the support of Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, university presidents and business leaders.

"We believe that all qualified students who graduate from high school in Colorado deserve the chance to go to college for the lower tuition paid by residents of this state," Joe Watt, communications director for the Bell Policy Center, one of the organizations promoting SB 33, said Friday.

SB 33 establishes requirements to determine which undocumented students are eligible for reduced university tuition.

To qualify, a student must have graduated from a Colorado high school, must have lived in the state for a minimum of three straight years, and must sign a sworn statement indicating that he or she has already begun the process of obtaining legal immigration status or qualifies to do so.

For Watt of the Bell Policy Center, the coalition supporting SB 33 understands that this measure "is not only good educational policy, but is also a good policy for developing the work force." EFE