Passing the DREAM

The Legislature should pass a bill allowing undocumented students to pay in-state tuition.

Daily Editorial Board

 

Last week, the Minnesota Senate passed a version of the DREAM Act, which would allow Minnesota’s undocumented students to apply for financial aid at Minnesota colleges and universities and would equalize the cost of tuition to an in-state level.

We strongly urge the Legislature to approve this bill without significant delay and pass it on to the governor’s desk for signing.

The DREAM Act is not about comprehensive immigration reform — which ultimately needs to come from Congress — it’s about providing equal opportunity to all Minnesota students. This should not be a partisan issue, as a primary goal for both Republicans and Democrats is to improve access to education and remove barriers keeping kids from attending institutions of higher learning.

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler has already stated his support of the act in the past and has told the Minnesota Daily he would recommend the Board of Regents adopt it if approved by the full Legislature.

Though the University may lose money as a result of this measure, the University is capable and willing to “absorb” the estimated $175,000 per year it would lose from additional students paying in-state tuition.

According to the chief author of the bill, Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, it is more likely to pass in the House now than when similar versions were heard in previous years. The bill’s chances have been improved since several key members of the House are now behind the measure and also because Pappas is on the conference committee called to resolve differences between House and Senate higher education omnibus bills, which is likely where this measure will be addressed.