I’m proud to be the Prime Sponsor of “Tuition Equality Act” (A4225). This bill became known colloquially known as the Tuition Equity for DREAMers Act and “allows certain students including undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria to qualify for in-state tuition at public institutions of higher education and state financial aid.” This law brings access to higher education to more of our state's young people and adult learners. The DREAM Act is transformational; it emboldens the American dream, boosts our economy, increasing personal growth and learning potential. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed the bill into law in 2014.
This week the Assembly Budget Committee approved a bill (A3617) to make higher education an attainable reality for undocumented students in New Jersey. Many of these students have dreamt about going to college their whole life, only to find out they weren't eligible for the same opportunities as their peers. In order to put higher education within reach for them, they need a fair shot at financial assistance just like the many other residents of this state who wouldn't be able to afford college otherwise.
The bill would allow for financial aid to be available for undocumented students who:
- Attended high school in New Jersey for three or more years;
- Graduated from a high school in this state or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in the state.
- Registers as an entering student or is currently enrolled in a public institution of higher education not earlier than the fall semester of the 2013-2014 academic year.
- In the case of a person without lawful immigration status, files an affidavit with the institution of higher education stating that the student has filed an application to legalize his immigration status or will file an application as soon as he is eligible to do so.
This bill is about the future of New Jersey. Having access to financial aid is an opportunity for a better life for our children.