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Rhode Island Board Unanimously Approves In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students

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Big news today in Rhode Island on a subject that has been garnering political headlines because of the GOP presidential debates. The state’s Board of Governors for Higher Education approved a new policy granting in-state tuition rates to undocumented students:

After facing a contentious public for 3½ hours, the Board of Governors for Higher Education unanimously adopted a policy that allows undocumented students to pay resident tuition rates at public colleges.

The board heeded the urging of Governor Chafee and ignored the protests of several legislators and countless others in adopting the policy.

The vote, resoundingly cheered by supporters, makes Rhode Island the first state in the nation to decide the question as a matter of policy. A dozen other states have legislated in-state tuition rates for undocumented students.

Victor Capellan, a Central Falls school official, said he was “proud of the board. It took a courageous step, a step in the right direction.”

The policy change was “the right decision for the students and the state.”

Good for Rhode Island. Governor Chafee has become an outspoken advocate for immigrants. And, this one should be a no-brainer.  That unanimous vote from the Board indicated it was.

Of course, it’s still not the DREAM Act, which needs to pass at the federal level in order to put these students on a path to citizenship. But, it does put undocumented students in Rhode Island on a path to a college education.