The federal Deferred Action program may remove the immediate threat of deportation for young undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children. But it does nothing to provide assistance for those young immigrants to attend college. And for many of these immigrants in Minnesota and across the country, going to college is crucial for them to fully pursue their dreams in America.
The Minnesota Legislature is considering a proposal to address this challenge. Under a bill introduced in the Minnesota Senate (Senate File 723), some young immigrants in Minnesota would become eligible for in-state tuition rates, as well as financial aid.
State Sen. Sandy Pappas has been trying to pass such legislation for the last six years. The proposal was formerly called the Dream Act. It is now known as the Prosperity Act.
The bill specifies that in order to qualify for in-state tuition, certain requirements must be met. Undocumented immigrant students must have lived in Minnesota for minimum period of time. That period would be at least three years for in-state tuition. The residency period would be shorter than that for financial aid.
In addition, students would have to sign affidavits regarding their intention to seek permanent residency. The affidavits would state that the application process for permanent residency is underway or will be initiated in the near future.
In today’s labor market, a college education is increasingly important. And that is why issues of access to in-state tuition and financial aid are important.
The next step in the legislative process for the bill is the Senate Finance Committee. We will keep you posted on how it progresses.
Source: “Immigrant student bill moves forward in Minn. Senate,” KARE 11, 4-3-13
To learn more about our practice, please visit our page on Dream Act procedures.