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Not Many Undocumented Students Expected To Use In-State Tuition

Jimmy Emerson

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon House has approved a controversial bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to qualify for in-state college tuition rates. Supporters called Friday’s vote historic. But not very many students are expected to actually take advantage of the measure.

The bill would allow Oregonians who aren't citizens or legal residents to qualify for in-state tuition rates at public universities. Right now they're treated the same as out-of-state residents, meaning they're charged up to three times as much. To be eligible, the students would have to attend high school in Oregon and show an effort to become a legal resident or citizen.

Democratic Representative Michael Dembrow praised the young people he says would benefit from the bill.

"Against great odds they have done what it takes to qualify for admission to one of our state's universities. They are exactly the kind of kids that we should be investing in."

But not too many undocumented immigrants are expected to enroll if the bill passes the Senate and is signed into law. The Oregon University System estimates just 38 students would sign up in the first two years. That guess is based on the experience of other states that have adopted the same policy, including Washington.

On the Web:

HB 2787-A: In-state tuition for undocumented immigrants - Oregon Legislature