New Jersey will finally move forward with allowing some undocumented immigrants raised in the United States to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities, following a long tussle back and forth about the legislation.
However, Governor Chris Christie is nixing an important piece of the legislation that would have awarded state financial aid to undocumented immigrants. Democrats had fought for the state financial aid to be included but lost, the Star-Ledger reported. Some states with similar in-state tuition laws do award state financial aid. Undocumented immigrants cannot qualify for federal aid.
The legislation would give the in-state tuition benefit to those immigrants who are graduates of New Jersey high schools and attended school in the state for at least three years, the Star-Ledger reported.
Christie said that he was committed to “tuition equality,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Despite making that statement, he had been criticized previously when it appeared that he would not support the legislation.
“”These young men and women of our state – whom we have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in their K-12 education – we’re now going to give them an opportunity in an affordable way to be able to continue their education,” he said.
The Inquirer reported that of the 15 other states offering in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants, the states of Texas, California and New Mexico offer state financial aid.
Upon the news, activist Giancarlo Tello — an undocumented immigrant from Peru — said he could now afford to attend college. He said he would “begrudgingly” accept an agreement without financial aid.