FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Tony Payton, Jr.
Payton introduces bill to give undocumented students in-state tuition rates
PHILADELPHIA, June 20 – State Rep. Tony Payton Jr., D-Phila., has introduced legislation that would allow undocumented immigrant students to pay in-state tuition at any Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education school, community college or state-related university.
At a Philadelphia news conference held at Kensington CAPA High School Monday, Payton said most undocumented students had no choice in entering the United States illegally, and his legislation would give them more opportunities to make positive make economic and social contributions to society.
"Governor Corbett wants to cut higher education by 50 percent this year, and under the Republican budgets, it doesn't fare much better," Payton said. "College is becoming a pipe dream for too many children, not because they aren't talented or willing to work hard, but because they can't afford it. For undocumented children, it's that much harder to attain an education.
"Considering the significant cost difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition, as well as the fact that undocumented students are not eligible for federal financial aid, college is often extremely expensive and simply out of reach for many of these students," Payton explained.
Under Payton's bill, to be eligible, students would have to attend a public or nonpublic secondary school in Pennsylvania for at least three years, pay state income taxes for at least three years prior to enrollment in college, and provide an affidavit to the institution of higher education that the student will file an application to a become a permanent resident.
Payton was also joined by DreamActivist Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, which advocate for more educational opportunities for undocumented youth.
Maryland recently became the 11th state to pass legislation allowing long-term undocumented immigrant students the ability to qualify for in-state tuition at institutions of higher education. Other states with similar provisions include Texas, New Mexico, Illinois and Utah.