At a time when some state leaders — including Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman — vowed to deny public benefits to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, yesterday Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick sent a different message to DREAMers.
Under a new policy laid out by Patrick, undocumented immigrants who have been approved under DACA will qualify for in-state tuition at public colleges.
The governor sent a letter to the state Board of Higher Education directing schools to offer resident tuition to undocumented youth who successfully obtain a work permit under DACA. Although this is not a permanent solution for all the undocumented in his state as not all qualify, it’s still encouraging to see a shift in mindset.
The difference in tuition is significant as some school officials concede and it’s what often prevents undocumented students from pursuing their dreams.
“Our experience has been that the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition is a prohibitive barrier,” said Paul Reville, the state’s secretary of education. The state’s flagship college, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, charges state residents $13,230 in tuition and fees; students from outside the state pay more than twice as much, $26,645.
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