Everyone deserves access to a higher education and if you’re a Virginia resident, you deserve the right to pay in-state tuition at our colleges and universities. As of July 1, undocumented students who live in Virginia won’t have to pay international student rates to attend the public college or university of their choice in the Commonwealth.
This victory is thanks to years of advocacy from immigrant rights groups like the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights, UnDocuRams, National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC), George Mason University Dreamers, Virginia Intercollegiate Immigrant Alliance, and Virginia Student Power Network who showed up at the General Assembly to make their voices heard about in-state tuition.
All Virginia Residents Deserve In-State Tuition
Undocumented students ARE Virginia students– many of whom were brought to the country at a young age, making the state their only home. They grow up in Virginia neighborhoods, go to community places of worship, and attend local schools. A report released by The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis found that expanding in-state tuition rates to undocumented students in Virginia does not create a cost burden to the state or result in overcrowded classrooms. Instead, providing in-state tuition rates opens up a pathway to better jobs and opportunities that benefit students and the state economy.
Activists forced the Commonwealth to do right by the 47,000 undocumented Virginians who are aged 16-24 by granting them the opportunity to have in-state tuition. The legislation sponsored by Senators Jennifer Boysko and Ghazala Hashmi requires a student to show proof of filed taxes to be eligible for in-state tuition and also must have attended high school in Virginia for at least two years, been homeschooled in the state, or have passed a high school equivalency exam prior to enrolling in a college.
Back in 2014, Attorney General Mark Herring announced that recipients of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program could receive in-state tuition in Virginia. With Trump’s election and his promise to end DACA, student activists, the religious community, and other advocates lobbied fiercely at the state Capitol to make in-state tuition law in the Commonwealth. Now, it’s 2020, the Supreme Court has acted to protect DACA and undocumented students don’t have to go to the poorhouse to pay for college.
Vote For Immigrant Rights in Virginia
We couldn’t have done this if you didn’t go to the polls to vote for progress in the Commonwealth in 2019! Guess what?! We have another election coming up in November and we need you to show up at the polls again! Pledge to vote this November 3!
Check out our other bills highlighted in Progress Virginia’s Christmas in July: