« Environment - "Pressure to produce meat is breeding unrest about concentrated animal operations" | Main | Environment - "Power companies say solar panel systems are draining away their customers and profits" [Updated] »

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ind. Law - "Students without citizenship face struggles in Indiana"

From a long, July 21st story by Jessie Hellmann in the Kokomo Tribune:

“I wasn’t born here, but I was raised here,” [Angel Ramos, 20] said. “I went to American schools, went on field trips, had American friends, watched American movies, and I stood up every morning at school and said the Pledge of Allegiance.”

For students like Ramos, HB 1402 [passed in 2011] made college two to three times more expensive and much harder to pay for, especially since such students also are ineligible for state or federal financial aid.

When the bill went into effect July 1, 2011, students had two options: pay out-of state tuition or drop out and wait for Congress to pass immigration reform or apply for Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals work permit policy.

The story reports that: "Before the bill, tuition at Indiana University Kokomo was manageable at $198 per credit hour. [After it went into effect] Angel would have to pay IU Kokomo’s out-of state rate of $563 per credit hour if he wanted to attend school."

The lengthy story continues: "SB 207 passed this year, allow[ed] the students who were enrolled on or before July 1, 2011, to return to school and pay in-state tuition rates." More:

Sen. Leising said she authored the bill because HB 1402 didn’t grandfather in students who were already enrolled in school.

“I think that, truthfully, they should have figured out how those kids could have been exempt,” Leising said. “A lot of times when legislation passes, it doesn’t impact people that are in a process. They’re grandfathered. I think that’s one of the reasons I was able to get the bill passed. It wasn’t fair to those who invested years of their lives already and wouldn’t be able to finish.”

She said she doesn’t think the Indiana Legislature will support a bill that gives in-state tuition to all undocumented students because of the “brokenness” of the federal government’s immigration laws.

“Right now, I don’t think that the Legislature would collectively support a bill that would take care of all undocumented college students,” Leising said. “I don’t think they are willing to make that commitment without the federal government changing policy, because right now, I don’t think the Legislature has any confidence that the border has been secured and that would potentially be a problem.”

She said some legislators wanted to amend her bill to expand in-state tuition to all students, but it wouldn’t have had enough support to pass.

“It just seems to me that if we have a young person who had done well in school, graduated from a public high school and wanted to continue their education so they can be productive members of society, we should let them finish their education,” she said.

She estimated the law will only help about 300 students.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 28, 2013 11:14 AM
Posted to Indiana Law