On the first day of the Washington state legislature’s 2014 session, the state’s House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill that would grant undocumented college students the chance to apply for a state financial aid program. The measure was approved 71-23 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.
The bill would allow students who either graduated from a Washington state high school or earned a diploma-equivalent GED, to qualify for State Need Grant, a financial-aid program. The bill was taken up last year where it also passed the House, but languished in the Senate Higher Education Committee.
Undocumented students in Washington state have been allowed to pay at the in-state tuition rate since 2003, but this vote through the state House would put them one step closer to having affordable college education. The average cost of tuition, room, board, and other expenses at the University of Washington-Seattle campus is about $27,034 for in-state residents, a huge expenditure for undocumented immigrants whose average household income hovers around $36,000.