Bill could give undocumented students out-of-state tuition

Jessie Hellmann

A bill that passed through the house and senate and is currently awaiting Governor Pence’s signature could make undocumented students enrolled before July 1, 2011 eligible for in-state tuition.

Undocumented students currently have had to pay out-of-state tuition to attend any Indiana-public four-year public institution because of a bill passed through the Indiana legislature two years ago.

Sen. Jean Leising (R-42) authored the bill to help out the students who were enrolled in college before the bill passed, because they may not have been able to afford to continue their education with the out-of state price.

“When they have to pay out-of-state tuition, it’s almost impossible for them to go,” Leising said.

She said about 300 undocumented students were affected by the bill passed two years ago, and she would be surprised if half of them came back to school because of how much time has passed.

She said she hopes people in Indiana understand the situation the undocumented students are in.

“I hope that people that have mixed feelings about this issue understand that these kids did not break the law,” Leising said. “They came here with their parents, and their parents were the law breakers by coming here illegally.”

She said she thinks Pence will sign the bill.

“I think he has been very open-minded on this issue when he was in Congress,” Leising said. “I’m assuming that he will sign it.”

Glorisal Cruz, president of Latinos Unidos at USI, said this bill is a good start but leaves out a lot of undocumented students.

“It’s a big help for those who will benefit from it, but there’s still a lot of students that would have to pay out-of-state tuition even if this bill passes,” Cruz said. “It helps, but doesn’t do enough for undocumented students.”

She said even if the bill doesn’t get signed by the governor, the undocumented students will still do okay because of how they are raised.

“I think most undocumented students are motivated to do so great because that’s the only option they have,” Cruz said. “I think that’s why even if the law didn’t pass, they would still do great because that’s how they were raised. I think that’s how we’ve all been raised: to work hard for what we have.”