Bill could extend resident tuition to immigrant students

Indiana legislators could be on track to doing something important: changing the law to let noncitizen students pay resident tuition at Indiana colleges and universities.

Senate Bill 138, being considered by the Senate Education and Career Development Committee, would extend in-state tuition to students who complete four years of high school in Indiana and earn a diploma or a high school equivalence certificate. Currently, noncitizens have to pay out-of-state tuition.

Indiana Statehouse dome

Committee testimony on this bill last Thursday was powerful. Young immigrants told of studying diligently in school and working for a better future, only to learn they couldn’t receive federal or state student aid and would have to pay pricey nonresident tuition to attend college in Indiana.

“We won’t stop here. We will continue to advocate and raise our voices,” said Wendy Catalan Ruano, an Indianapolis resident and an advocate with the Indiana Undocumented Youth Alliance.

Supporters said the bipartisan bill is timely as Indiana businesses struggle to find qualified workers and college-educated Hoosiers often take their skills and credentials to other states.

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