Background: Thousands of Massachusetts high school students and graduates are unable to get a college education because they must pay out-of-state tuition rates at public colleges/universities, even though they have lived here for years and graduated from high schools in our communities, and many more are barred from state financial aid. These students have lived in our communities most of their lives and could be our future doctors, teachers and engineers. Education opportunity legislation cuts across partisan and ideological divides. States as politically diverse as Texas, Utah, Kansas and Connecticut provide tuition equity because they recognize its immediate and long-term benefits for their economies. Our neighbors New York, Connecticut, Vermont and Rhode Island are among the 17 states that have tuition equity policies in place. Massachusetts competes with these states for jobs and businesses, and every year we deny our students the opportunity to attend college, we shrink our talent pool and undercut our future economic advantage.
Why This Matters: Already, Massachusetts immigrant businesses generate approximately $2.8 billion in revenue a year and undocumented immigrants alone contributed $196.9 million ?in state and local taxes in 2012. The educational opportunity these bills provide for high school students would allow them to contribute to their communities and strengthen the local economy. This legislation asks students who are long-time residents of Massachusetts communities to pay the same rate as one another and allows them to rightfully access the state's financial aid pool to which they and their families contribute, which makes sense for the state's bottom line. Simply put, the legislation makes dollars and cents for our public colleges and universities.
What This Bill Does: The Education Equity Bill would allow students who have attended a Massachusetts high school for three years and have graduated or received the equivalent of a diploma to pay the same instate tuition rates at public universities as their peers and to benefit from state financial aid. If a student is not a legal permanent resident, they must sign an affidavit stating that they have filed an application to become a legal permanent resident, or will file an application as soon as they are eligible.
What To Do:
Sign this change.org petition in support of the bill!
Email or call your legislator using this reference sheet!
Write a guest blog about the bill!
Facebook or Tweet about the bill!