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Financial aid for immigrant students: MN Senate passes bill

May 2, 2013 – David Hahn

Financial Aid for Immigrant Students: MN Senate Passes Bill

We’ve been following closely the efforts in the Minnesota legislature to provide financial aid to young immigrant students. As we discussed in our April 2 post, the Minnesota Senate has been considering a bill (Senate File 723) called the Prosperity Act intended to make this happen.

The Minnesota Senate passed the bill yesterday, to the delight of many immigrants who had come to the Capitol to rally for comprehensive immigration reform. Such rallies were held across the country yesterday, aiming to build support for an overhaul of federal immigration law.

The federal debate remains ongoing. But at the state level, individual states are taking specific actions that are within their control. In Minnesota, the state senate’s action is an important step toward providing financial assistance for undocumented students.

The changes called for in Prosperity Act are of three types, involving eligibility for:

  • State financial aid
  • In-state tuition
  • Private scholarships raised by public colleges

Before becoming eligible, immigrant students would have to first show that they attended a high school in Minnesota for three years. They would also have to graduate from high school. And finally, they must make a pledge to apply for adjustment of immigration status as soon as they are eligible for such an adjustment.

Such an adjustment often depends on work authorization. And that is where federal immigration reform comes in. Part of the federal immigration reform proposal involves increasing the number of available work visas.

The Minnesota House of Representatives has not passed a companion bill to the Prosperity Act. But supporters in the Minnesota Senate are hopeful to work out a compromise bill with the House in a conference committee later this spring.

Please visit our page on student immigrants.

Source:  “Minnesota Senate boosts undocumented students’ college dreams,” Star Tribune, Mark Brunswick, 5-2-13

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