May 26, 2011 – Maryland Signs State’s Tuition Equity Law
Last Tuesday, the Governor of Maryland signed the state’s Tuition Equity law, providing an exemption from out-of state tuition rates at community colleges, and after earning 60 credits or an Associate’s degree, at four year colleges to students who attended high school in the state for at least three years, graduated, and meet certain other requirements, regardless of their status. The law takes effect on July 1, 2011. On Thursday, Connecticut’s Tuition Equity bill passed the House and moved to the Senate. The California Assembly also passed a bill confirming that all students, regardless of status, can participate in student government and authorizing colleges and Universities to provide scholarships, grants, fee waivers and reimbursement for expenses related to their service. (See below for details on other positive measures that are moving forward).
On the other hand, Indiana’s Governor signed two bills, an omnibus anti-immigrant measure, which included provisions denying in-state tuition, scholarships, grants and financial aid] to undocumented students, and a stand-alone bill also denying in-state tuition to students who are not lawfully present. And Georgia’s Governor also signed an omnibus anti-immigrant bill, which, while not altering eligibility, introduced restrictive identification document requirements that will impose barriers to a range of services, including adult education.
Here is the most recent summary.
- “Tuition Equity” bills that would provide access to in-state tuition for students who meet certain criteria, regardless of their status, were proposed in at least 10 states (CO, CT, FL, IA, MD, MA, MO, NY, OR, RI).
Maryland’s bill was signed into law on May 10th; Connecticut’s bill passed the House by a vote of 77-63 last week;Oregon’s bill, which passed the Senate, is being considered in the House; Florida’s bill died in the Higher Education Committee. Colorado’s bill passed the Senate but was postponed indefinitely in the House. Advocacy efforts in Colorado and Florida will continue next year.
- Bills in at least 6 states sought to improve access to state financial aid, scholarships, or otherwise to improve access to higher education for students who attended high school in the state (AZ, CA, CT, IL, MS, NY).
California’s bill, confirming that all students can participate in student government, and authorizing colleges and universities to provide scholarships, grants, fee waivers or reimbursement for expenses related to that service, passed the Assembly by a vote of 48-18. Another California bill, allowing students who pay in-state tuition rates to qualify for scholarships derived from non-state funds received by the college or university, having passed the Assembly, has moved to the Senate. Illinois’ bill, establishing a DREAM fund Commission that provides scholarships to children of immigrants, funded from private contributions, making the College Savings Pool and pre-paid tuition available to ITIN filers, and ensuring that professional development for school counselors address the needs of and opportunities for children of immigrants, passed the Senate, and is being considered in the House.
- Bills in 8 states sought to repeal existing in-state tuition policies. Bills in OK, TX, WA and WI remain pending;Repeal efforts in CA, KS, NE and UT have been defeated or have failed to pass.
- Bills in at least 5 states sought to prevent states from establishing in-state tuition policies for students regardless of status. Two of these bills have passed both houses of the state’s legislature: Indiana’s stand-alone bill, denying in-state tuition to students who are not lawfully present, and the omnibus anti-immigrant bill that denies in-state tuition, scholarships, grants and financial aid to undocumented students, were signed into law. Alabama’s omnibus anti-immigrant bill, which would ban scholarships, financial aid, resident or reduced tuition, and extracurricular activities in primary, secondary or post-secondary education, passed the Senate and must be reconciled with the House version, which doesn’t include these provisions; Louisiana’s legislature will consider two bills, an omnibus measure that would ban resident tuition, restricted admissions programs for disadvantaged or minority students, scholarships, work study, financial aid, and another bill that would require non-residents who are not US citizens to pay at least 50% more in tuition than citizens. The bills in Arkansas were defeated or tabled; and the Maryland bills died.
- Bills in at least 7 states sought to ban enrollment in higher education (AZ, GA, KY, MT, NC, TN, VA). The Montana legislature sent a referendum to the voters to decide, on the November 2012 ballot, whether to deny “state services,” including enrollment in a public university and financial aid, to undocumented immigrants. The measure, if passed by the voters, would require state agencies to notify ICE of any undocumented immigrant applying for a state service. The bills in AZ, GA, KY and VA have been defeated.
- Bills in at least 9 states sought to impose barriers to K-12 Education (AL, AZ, GA, MD, NC, OK, TX, TN, VA). See description of Alabama’s bill above. The bills in AZ, GA, MD, OK and VA so far have been defeated.
- Bills in at least two states (CA, NJ) seek to remove barriers to K-12 education. California’s bill, which requires school districts to accept a wide range of evidence indicating that a family lives in the district, passed the Assembly on April 25, and moved to the Senate Committee on Education.