Colorado Governor Grants In-State Tuition to Undocumented Immigrants

(Credit: Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry)

On Monday, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper will sign a law that grants undocumented students the ability to pay in-state college tuition rates. This victory comes a decade after six unsuccessful attempts to pass the state Congress. The measure passed with a 23-12 Senate vote and a 40-21 House vote, this time with three House Republicans siding with the House Democrats who voted unanimously.

In the past, undocumented students had to pay the out-of-state tuition rate, which at times is more than three times the cost of in-state tuition. In order to qualify for in-state tuition, students must have either attended high school for three years or attained a GED equivalency, graduated from a high school within Colorado, and sign an affidavit stating that they have or will apply to legalize their status.

Immediately after Governor Hickenlooper signs the law, about five hundred first-time undocumented college students that make up “0.4 percent in the estimated 141,905 in-state students receiving college opportunity fund student stipends” will be able to pay in-state tuition. Around 1,500 undocumented high school students graduate each year in Colorado.

Colorado joins thirteen other states that allow in-state tuition for undocumented students. Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed a similar law in early April.