News Releases

Murray, Polis Introduce Bill to Provide In-State Tuition for DREAMer Students

Jan 16 2014

The Investing IN States To Achieve Tuition Equity (IN-STATE) for Dreamers Act provides incentives for states to offer in-state tuition, need-based financial aid for DREAMers

On average, in-state tuition at four year colleges is $8,893, compared with $22,203 for out-of-state tuition

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Thursday, January 16th, 2014 U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced the Investing IN States To Achieve Tuition Equity (IN-STATE) for Dreamers Act of 2014. The IN-STATE for Dreamers Act establishes the American Dream Grant program, which encourages states to increase access to higher education for low-income students, regardless of immigration status. This program would provide $750 million in need-based student financial aid to states that set equitable in-state tuition rates or offer state financial aid to the thousands of undocumented students who graduate from American high schools each year. U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) have also signed on as original co-sponsors of this legislation.

“All qualified students should have the same opportunities to get a college degree, regardless of their immigration status,” Senator Murray said. “Undocumented students are no different than their classmates. They live in the same towns, attend the same schools, and share the same dreams – and they deserve an equal chance to go to college and start successful careers in this country.”

“When a student has put in the hard work and dedication required to get into college in their home state, it is unconscionable to deny them the chance to continue their education, based solely on higher costs due to a broken immigration system,” said Representative Polis. “This legislation will not only put higher education within reach for de-facto American students, but is an important step forward in reforming our broken immigration system, strengthening our workforce, and improving our economy.”

“As an immigrant who came to this country at a young age, I know that education can be a great equalizer. Students who were brought to this country as children deserve fair access to affordable higher education,” said Senator Hirono. “I’ve had the privilege to meet many inspiring DREAMers who just want an opportunity to work hard and contribute to the country they call home. We should make it easier for all students to pursue the American Dream and this bill is good step in the right direction.”

“Education paves the surest path to success in America. This bill will not just increase access to college for the almost 100,000 who students have applied for Deferred Action, but I am hopeful that it will also encourage other states to expand higher education opportunities for these promising students,” said Representative Castro. “The IN-STATE for DREAMers Act is an important first step in fixing our broken immigration system and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to ensure that immigration reform becomes a reality.”

More about the IN-STATE for Dreamers Act HERE

Supporters for the legislation include:

AFL-CIO, American Association of Community Colleges, American Federation of Teachers, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO, Association of Community College Trustees, Colorado State University, Council on Opportunity in Education, Democrats for Education Reform, Demos, ED Trust, First Focus Campaign for Children, Jobs for the Future, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, National Association of College Admission Counseling, National Council of La Raza, National Education Association, National Immigration Law Center, NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, United We Dream, University of Washington, Washington State University, University of Hawaii, We Belong Together: Women for Common-Sense Immigration Reform, Young Invincibles.

Access and affordability for all of our students is a priority of WSU, regardless of immigrant status.  Washington State University will continue to work with Senator Murray and Congressman Polis to support the goal of creating opportunity for first generation students to get the education they need to create the next generation of leaders,” said John Fraire, VP for Student Affairs & Enrollment, Washington State University. 

“We are pleased to support this legislation. It will open the doors of opportunity to the many who have successfully and meritoriously completed their secondary schooling in the U.S. but due to their immigrant status are unable to pursue their college aspirations. In many instances, these students came to the U.S. through no fault of their own and they desire the same access to the American Dream as other groups before them. It is time to provide access to this option so they can become full participants and contributing members of our society,” said Shelia Edwards Lange, Vice President for Minority Affairs and Vice Provost for Diversity at the University of Washington.

“The National Immigration Law Center praises Senators Murray and Hirono and Representatives Polis and Castro for recognizing that improving access to education is a powerful way to ensure our nation’s future economic success,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.  “The popularity of in-state tuition laws — both ruby-red Texas and deep-blue California offer not only tuition equity, but also financial aid for immigrant students, regardless of immigration status — should serve as a reminder to legislators in Washington that this proposal isn’t just sound education and economic policy, it’s also one whose antecedents are bipartisan. We will continue working toward a day when all students — regardless of where they were born or their financial situation — will be able to achieve their educational dreams.”

“NASPA has long been a supporter of expanded access to postsecondary education for DREAM students.  As campus professionals who work with students every day, our members understand the transformative power of education to develop individuals and prepare them for productive lives.  NASPA applauds Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) for introduction of this important piece of legislation.  As a nation we can no longer continue to deny access to higher education for all talented and determined students,” said Kevin Kruger, President, NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Anyone who works hard enough to gain entry to college should be encouraged, not turned aside…While the DREAM Act has yet to be signed into law, 14 states have adopted their own versions of the DREAM Act that address tuition and financial aid for immigrants who are not yet American citizens. The IN-STATE Act would provide critical support for these states and any others that pass similar laws in the future. Democrats for Education Reform encourages the swift adoption of the IN-STATE Act and looks forward to working with Congress in helping all of our nation’s students earn a college degree.” Democrats for Education Reform.

“America wins when every young person has an opportunity to reach his or her full potential and contribute to our nation’s success. Senator Murray and Congressman Polis understand that eliminating the barriers to children’s success is the best way to build a strong and vibrant future for America,” said Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children.

“Students—no matter where they were born—dream of the future. They should be able to dream their dreams and achieve them. Ensuring equal access to high-quality, affordable higher education is both a moral imperative and an economic necessity. By encouraging states to offer in-state tuition to low-income students, regardless of immigration status, the IN-STATE for Dreamers Act will expand opportunity for students who need it the most. We look forward to working with Congress to enact this vital legislation,” said Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers.

“By allowing students to receive in-state tuition rates and financial aid assistance, this legislation is the first step towards recognizing that students, regardless of their immigration status, should be afforded the opportunity to pursue their educational aspirations. The IN-STATE Dream Act of 2014 seeks to build a stronger, more robust society by providing undocumented students with the economic means to attend college and contribute to our national prosperity,” said Maureen Hoyler, President of The Council for Opportunity in Education.

“Education is the key to opportunity, productivity and upward mobility. In today’s challenging world economy, it is foolhardy for us as a nation to not restrict the ability of any of our young people to pursue higher education simply because they were born elsewhere. We applaud Sen. Murray and Rep. Polis for their efforts, through the IN-STATE for Dreamers Act, to bring a college education back into reach for undocumented students. Our country cannot afford to leave these hardworking students behind,” said Kati Haycock, President of The Education Trust.