Bill to grant in-state tuition to undocumented students is picking up steam

Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, told the Colorado Independent her bill to allow undocumented high school graduates to attend state colleges at in-state rates, co-sponsored with Sen. Mike Johnston, D-Denver, appears to have the votes to pass the Senate. She said they were able to eliminate costs to the state, and that change has caused some legislators to switch their positions from opposing it to supporting it.

Giron said the bill has become appealing to many legislators because it will now cost taxpayers nothing. She said that capturing bright minds already developed through taxpayer dollars in Colorado schools was smart economic policy.

“Not a penny of taxpayer dollars will be spent,” Giron said.

Affected students will not be eligible for the Colorado Opportunity Fund. According to senate staffers, in other states where the legislation has been implemented they have seen a net revenue gain because the marginal cost of the last student coming in the door is less than the tuition being paid by that student.

According to Giron, Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, is one of the senators who will be voting for the bill after voting against a similar bill in 2009.

At the time, Carroll told reporters she could not support the bill “in a climate where the state is cutting or eliminating over $1 billion of benefits to the people and is facing a $300 million cut to higher education, which virtually ends higher education as we know it in the state of Colorado.”

Giron also said Linda Newell would be speaking with her constituents soon about the issue and said she appeared interested in signing on to the new legislation.

“Hopefully she will do the right thing,” Giron said.

She said the bill will be introduced with a large number of sponsors and said she felt confident the bill would reach the House where Minority Leader Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, continues to work on shoring up votes.

Giron said that they had to first get the Democrats solidified on the subject before they start working on the Republicans in the House.

“After I finish up over here in the Senate, I am going over to educate the House [on the bill],” Giron said.

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