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IN-STATE Act offers tuition assistance to undocumented students

The University of Hawai‘i system may receive federal funding to offer tuition assistance to undocumented students under a bill introduced in Congress last month.

The Investing In States To Achieve Tuition Equity for DREAMers Act of 2014 would provide $750 million during the course of 10 years in need-based financial aid to states such as Hawai’i that have set “equitable in-state tuition rates and offer financial aid to undocumented students,” according to the bill.

According to studies cited by Sen. Mazie Hirono’s office, the bill could reduce tuition for more than 2,000 Hawai‘i students if Congress approves it.

Hirono joined three other democratic colleagues in both houses of Congress to introduce the bill Jan. 16.

Hirono, who emigrated from Japan to Hawai‘i at the age of 4, said she understands the challenges of living in a new country.

“I was able to succeed because of all the opportunities I had,” she said. “I want to ensure DREAMers have the same opportunities to succeed in the only country they call home as I did, and the same access to federal assistance as their American-born peers.”

Hawai‘i is one of 19 states that currently offers in-state tuition for undocumented students.  

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