In-State Tuition for Undocumented College Students: Special Legislative Hearing
Graduating from high school and heading to a university for a higher degree is a major goal for many of Mississippi’s young people. Most Mississippi residents qualify for in-state tuition—which means a big reduction in the overall cost of getting a college education. But if you’re an undocumented student, even if you’ve lived in Mississippi for the majority of your life, you currently have to pay out-of-state or even international tuition rates, which are 3-4 times higher. This presents a heavy financial burden, or in many cases, is totally cost-prohibitive.
We’ve been fighting for change in this area—working to gain in-state tuition for our undocumented young people. One of our objectives on Civic Engagement Day this year (Jan 22) was to call for support for HB209 by Rep. Reecy Dickson. Although that bill died in committee, we have a very important development to share.
On Monday, March 17, the House University and Colleges committee will host a special legislative hearing to discuss the issue of in-state tuition for undocumented students. This is a major step in the right direction, and comes as a direct result of the work we did during Civic Engagement Day—a portion of our group, led by activist and MIRA board member Roberta Avila (pictured here), spoke with the University and Colleges committee vice chair Rep. Greg Holloway, who initiated this special hearing.
Last year Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota and Oregon joined 13 other states where undocumented immigrants who graduate from high local high schools can receive in-state tuition at public universities and colleges. It is high time that Mississippi tore down these financial road blocks to immigrant students that can contribute so much to our state as they pursue their education and careers.
We urge you to join us for this very important hearing—particularly if you are an undocumented high school or college student, or a DACA recipient (like MIRA’s young friend Janet Betancourt). We want you to tell your stories to the legislators, and let them hear directly from you what a burden these out-of-state and / or international tuition rates present. And if you aren’t a student, come show solidarity and support for these undocumented young people who deserve the same opportunities that every other Mississippi resident receives.