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Bill Would Provide State University Systems Such As U.H. New Resources To Provide Financial Aid Regardless Of Students’ Immigration Status

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono joined today with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and U.S. Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO) and Joaquin Castro (D-TX) to introduce the Investing IN States To Achieve Tuition Equity (IN-STATE) for DREAMers Act of 2014. Under this bill, the University of Hawaii system would be eligible for federal funding as part of a new $750 million initiative to reward states like Hawaii that offer in-state tuition and need-based financial aid to qualified students regardless of immigration status. Studies have estimated that more than 2,000 students in Hawaii could be eligible.

“I’ve had the privilege to meet inspiring DREAMers who just want an opportunity to work hard and contribute to the state they call home,” said Senator Hirono. “Sadly, many DREAMers remain in the shadows and are not aware of resources available to help them. This bill will help educational institutions, including the University of Hawaii System, ensure DREAMers have a fair chance at an affordable education. Mahalo to President Lassner and the U.H. Board of Regents for supporting all students, regardless of immigration status.”

“We appreciate the work Senator Hirono has put into championing educational opportunities for DREAM Act students. This bill will go a long way toward supporting University of Hawaii policies that now allow undocumented students to enroll in school, pay in-state tuition and receive financial assistance,” said David Lassner, University of Hawaii Interim President. “The University of Hawaii System aims to transform the lives of our students while advancing the communities we serve, and this bill will greatly help us achieve both of these goals.”

In February 2013, the University of Hawaii Board of Regents approved an update to its by-laws allowing in-state tuition and financial assistance for DREAMers. If the IN-STATE for DREAMers Act of 2014 were to become law, Hawaii would be eligible to apply for federal grants to support this policy. The federal legislation would be completely paid-for by increasing visa processing fees on temporary foreign students who plan to return to their home countries.

Supporters for the legislation include:
University of Hawaii System, AFL-CIO, American Association of Community Colleges, American Federation of Teachers, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Association of Community College Trustees, Colorado State University, Council on Opportunity in Education, Democrats for Education Reform, Demos, ED Trust, First Focus Campaign for Children, Jobs for the Future, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, National Association of College Admission Counseling, National Council of La Raza, National Education Association, National Immigration Law Center, NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, United We Dream, University of Washington, Washington State University, We Belong Together: Women for Common-Sense Immigration Reform, Young Invincibles.

Senator Hirono spoke with DREAMers and educators at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in October 2013.

Senator Hirono spoke with DREAMers and educators at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in October 2013.