By Maggie Thurber | Special to Ohio Watchdog
State Sen. Charleta Tavares, D-District 15, and Sen. Tom Sawyer, D-District 28, have introduced a bill to make the children of undocumented immigrants eligible for in-state tuition and financial aid at state colleges and universities.
“This bill is necessary to offer all students the chance of achieving the American dream,” Tavares said. “This country was built on the foundation of encouraging individuals to reach their highest potential. We should not penalize young people for striving for success.”
S.B. 357, the Tuition Equity Act, would “classify as residents of the state for higher education purposes” any individual who is not a citizen or permanent legal resident, if they meet certain eligibility requirements. In order to be eligible, individuals must:
- Have graduated from high school or obtained a GED in Ohio.
- Have attended high school in Ohio for three years prior to graduation or lived in Ohio for three years prior to receiving a GED.
- Register as an entering student not earlier than the fall of 2012.
- Provide a state college or university with an affidavit stating he or she will file an application to become a United States citizen or permanent legal resident of the U.S.
The bill creates a new definition stating that resident “shall not be equated with the definition of that term as it is employed elsewhere under the laws of this state and other states, and shall not carry with it any of the legal connotations appurtenant thereto.”
“It is important for us to elevate the skills of everyone who is in this state and country for the good of America,” Sen. Sawyer said. “It makes sense to keep talented young people in our state by giving them the opportunity to further their education so they can put their skills to work here in Ohio.”