Immigrant Tuition Bill Moves On In Colo. House

Similar Bills Defeated In Years Prior

Illegal immigrants in Colorado are one step closer to getting a discount tuition rate to attend college in the state.

The bill is moving on to another House committee after the House Education Committee narrowly approved it Monday after hearing four hours of testimony. The measure could run into more opposition later in the Republican-led House, where a similar measure failed last year.

The bill would allow illegal immigrants who have graduated from high school in Colorado and who have attended three or more years in Colorado schools to attend college at a rate lower than the out-of-state rate. The discount rate would be higher than the in-state tuition rate.

For example, an illegal immigrant student attending the University of Colorado at Boulder would pay about $9,500 annually, compared with an estimated $7,700 for in-state tuition and about $28,850 for out of state.

Dozens of protesters rallied on the steps of the state capitol in the support of the bill.

This is the sixth time state lawmakers have tried to make college more affordable to illegal immigrants, who don't qualify for the less-expensive in-state tuition. Out-of-state tuition can be up to five times higher, and supporters said that's an obstacle many college-bound illegal immigrants raised in the U.S. can't overcome.

Thirteen states -- including Texas, California, Illinois and Connecticut -- have passed legislation granting in-state tuition for immigrant students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The bill has already passed the Democratic-led Senate.

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