Bill would lower cost of college for undocumented immigrants in Indiana

Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 6:17 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

INDIANAPOLIS (WNDU) - They gave it the old college try on Wednesday at the Indiana Statehouse.

Those who want to lower the cost of higher education for undocumented immigrants testified for a bill that would do just that.

“Indiana is one of two that prohibits in-state (tuition) for undocumented students. Us and Georgia,” said Rachel Santos with the Indiana Latino Institute. “Over 20 states, both blue and red states, have provisions that allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates, and seven states go even a step further to allow, not only in-state tuition rates, but allow state aid to go to those undocumented students.”

Indiana is one of two states that prohibits undocumented students access to in-state tuition.

In Indiana on the average, in-state tuition is $16,600 cheaper than it is for out-of-state residents.

Furthermore, undocumented students do not have access to state or federal financial aid to help pay for college.

“We have witnessed students experience depression and feelings of hopelessness when they realize how financially unrealistic it is for them to attend college,” Kristin Casper with Stand for Children Indiana told members of the Senate Education and Career Development Committee. “When we make education attainable, we create a path for our undocumented students to become productive and proud graduates of Indiana colleges and universities.”

Senate Bill 135 is being sponsored by Sen. Blake Doriot, (R) Goshen who said his district is about 25 percent Hispanic.

“We all know that Indiana’s Latino population is growing, in large part, thanks to immigration,” Santos said. “We see the growth in our public schools, in our businesses, our churches, our employment, and while the Indiana population dropped in 49 of our 92 counties, when we look at our Latino population actually grew in 89 of our 92 counties.”

“They’re here, they’re paying sales tax, they’re paying property tax, they’re paying taxes in the State of Indiana, and their students are not eligible to get this tuition,” added Chris Lagoni with the Indiana Small and Rural Schools Association.

The committee did not take a vote on SB 135 on Wednesday.