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."