Tuition Equality in Tennessee - Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee

Tuition Equality in Tennessee
Higher Education in Tennessee
- Governor Haslam has challenged Tennessee
with a critical new mission: to have 55% of
Tennesseans hold a college degree by 2025
- Currently, less than 29% of Tennesseans 25 and
older hold a college degree
Cultivating a more educated workforce is
essential to Tennessee’s economic future as baby
boomers leave the job market and our economy
increasingly requires skilled workers
Dreamers in TN
There are currently 14,000 Dreamers in Tennessee that do not have
access to affordable higher education.
• Dreamers are children brought to the U.S. by their parents at a young
age without legal status.
• Dreamers must pay out-of-state tuition rates because of their
immigration status, making higher education nearly impossible.
What is in-state tuition?
In-state tuition is the cost of tuition at a state university for students that:
• have lived in Tennessee for more than one year
• are U.S. citizens
In-state tuition is not a discount, but a fee that covers the marginal costs
of higher education in Tennessee.
Out-of-state rates are often more than 3x as much than in-state rates.
Many states have discussed abolishing out-of-state rates.
In-state Tuition Out of State Tuition
East Tennessee State University
Middle Tennessee State
University of Memphis
Tennessee State University
Austin Peay University
Why Give Undocumented Students In-State Tuition
The right thing to do
• All students deserve equal access to education
• For many Dreamers, Tennessee is their only home
• Continue our K-12 investment in students through university
• In-state tuition for undocumented students will help reach Governor
Haslam’s “Drive to 55” goal
Why Give Undocumented Students In-State Tuition
Good for our economy
• Workers with a college degree make $1.3 million more in their
lifetime (more productivity, more taxes)
• Demand for educated workers is rising while supply is lagging behind
• Undocumented families in TN pay taxes (in 2011, undocumented
immigrants paid over $157 million in sales and property taxes)
Good for Higher Education
• An increase in admissions will provide income to universities that isn’t
already there (very few students pay out-of-state)
• Allowing undocumented immigrants access to in-state tuition will
most certainly increase university graduation rates
Legislation: In-state tuition for Dreamers
SB 1951/HB 1992 (Senator Gardenhire/ Representative Floyd)
Would grant undocumented students access to in-state tuition if:
- the student has attended school in this state for the five (5) years prior to graduation
from high school.
- the student carries a 3.0 GPA or score of 21 on the ACT.
SB 2067/HB 2328 (Senator Tate/ Representative Camper)
Would grant undocumented students in-state tuition to Shelby county universities
(University of Memphis, Southwest TN Community College, and TCAT Memphis) if:
- graduated from and attended a TN high school for at least two years
- files an affidavit pledging to regularize status at the first available opportunity
How tuition equality becomes a law
Other states with in-state tuition policies for
At least sixteen (16) other states have enacted tuition equality:
• Texas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland,
Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York,
Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
Q &A
Can undocumented students work?
Thousands of undocumented youth in Tennessee have obtained a work
permit and a driver license by applying for Deferred Action for
Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a special program for immigrant youth
who were brought to the country when they were young.
Why don’t they just use DACA to get in-state tuition?
Only our legislature can grant undocumented students access to in-state
Q & A continued
Will this cost our state money?
No. In-state tuition covers the cost of higher education in TN. Out of
state tuition is an additional tax that few students pay. More students
will pay for school since they can afford the in-state rate, which means
our education system will make more money.
Can’t Dreamers find other ways to attend college?
Nationally, only 5-10% of Dreamers who graduate high school go to
college. When states enact tuition equality over 30% attend. Granting
Dreamers access to in-state tuition is the best way to make education
accessible to all students regardless of their immigration status.
What steps can you take?
• Tell your state senator representative to support tuition equality
• Give a tuition equality presentation to people in your network
• Become a member of TIRRC and support the work of Dreamers
across the state

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