Sunday, July 05, 2009

Some illegal immigrants will be able to get in-state tuition

This is great news!


By Georgia Pabst | the Journal Sentinel
Posted: June 29, 2009

Some illegal immigrant high school graduates will be able to attend Wisconsin state universities by paying in-state tuition, under a provision in the two-year budget Gov. Jim Doyle signed into law Monday.

Wisconsin now becomes the 11th state to enact such a law.

To qualify, students would have to reside in the state for three years, graduate from a Wisconsin high school or earn an equivalency degree here.

The students would have to apply through the normal channels.

It's estimated from 400 to 650 illegal immigrants annually graduate from state high schools, but they must pay out-of-state tuition if they enroll in the state university system or technical colleges.

In-state tuition at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is $7,576 a year in the 2008-'09 school year, compared with out-of-state tuition, which is $17,306.

State Rep. Pedro Colón (D-Milwaukee) first introduced the in-state college tuition measure in 1999, when he was new to the Assembly.

"I really think this gets us back on course with our brightest having more access to education," he said. "It's not a huge scholarship program, but an important step for more access to higher education than we had yesterday."

Immigrant advocates who have pushed for the measure attended the signing in Madison. Christine Neumann-Ortiz, director of Voces de la Frontera, an immigrant and worker rights organization, called it "a historic step forward in recognizing the civil rights of immigrants in the area of education."

Opponents such as state Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Band) criticized the provision.

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