College now FREE for illegal immigrants in Minnesota

Illegal immigrants would be eligible for the tuition "if they enroll in a two or four-year program within" state schools and "come from a household with an income of $80,000 or less."

The Minnesota Legislature’s Democratic majority voted last month to make illegal immigrants eligible for free college tuition. The bill has passed both the House and the Senate in the state, and Governor Tim Walz approved the program, which was part of a larger education spending package, on May 24. 

According to Axios, the North Star Promise makes illegal immigrants eligible for the tuition “if they enroll in a two or four-year program within the University of Minnesota or Minnesota State systems and come from a household with an income of $80,000 or less.”

“We want to make sure that when we’re expanding opportunities for everybody, we’re doing it for all Minnesotans, regardless of background, regardless of their documentation status,” Democratic state Senate Higher Education Chair Omar Fateh told Axios.

According to Alpha News, Minnesota revealed the new program amid the expiration of Title 42, a Trump-era policy used during the pandemic to quickly expel illegal immigrants.

California has a similar program. In March, the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) published a report, which stated: “More than half of California’s undocumented students in postsecondary education (53 percent) do not fill out a California Dream Act Application (CADAA), the counterpart to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which is used to determine financial aid eligibility and administer state aid for undocumented students.” 

The CSAC report says, “According to 2021–22 CSAC data, among undocumented students in postsecondary education who do fill out a CADAA, only 30 percent ultimately enroll and receive state financial aid. And overall, only 14 percent of California’s estimated undocumented student population in postsecondary education receives financial aid to support their higher education goals.”

The report’s suggested solutions include: “Ensure that undocumented students are eligible for state safety net programs, such as housing and food assistance. When establishing these programs, legislators must ensure they accommodate student needs and do not replicate barriers that exist at the federal level.”

It also proposes creating a "state-funded grant that can offset the financial burden undocumented students absorb because they are not eligible for the federal Pell Grant.”

The Associated Press reported that in Minnesota the program “would cost about $117 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1, including startup costs. After that, it would cost about $49.5 million annually, according to the agreement reached Monday night.”
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