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Wisconsin Becomes 11th State to Offer In-state Tuition to Undocumented Students

Undocumented students in Wisconsin received a gift on Monday when Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle signed a provision that allows such students to receive in-state tuition rates under certain circumstances.

The law makes Wisconsin the 11th state to offer in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants. It will only extend to students who have lived in Wisconsin at least three years prior to graduating from high school or obtaining a GED.

It’s estimated that 400 to 650 undocumented immigrants graduate from state high schools every year, as reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The signing comes just days after students — including students from Wisconsin — traveled to the nation’s capitol to participate in a mock graduation ceremony in support of “The DREAM Act.” The proposed legislation would allow undocumented students to receive a college education and ultimately, permanent citizenship. It would also restore states’ rights to offer in-state tuition to undocumented students, as previously reported in Diverse.

Undocumented students would save about $10,000 each year if they paid in-state tuition as opposed to out-of-state tuition, according to the Journal Sentinel.

“I really think this gets us back on course with our brightest having more access to education,” said State Rep. Pedro Colón, D-Milwaukee, in the report.

Colón, who first introduced the bill in 1999, added, “It’s not a huge scholarship program, but an important step for more access to higher education than we had yesterday.”

Texas, Oklahoma, New York, California, Nebraska, Kansas, Utah, Illinois, New Mexico and Washington are the other states that charge in-state tuition rates to undocumented students.

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