UPDATE: This legislation failed in the House Education Administration & Planning Committee on April 11, 2017.
For thousands of students in Tennessee who work hard and graduate from high school, the dream of going to college and choosing a career isn’t accessible or realistic. Why not? Because these students are denied in-state tuition rates at public universities solely due to their immigration status.
SB 1014/ HB 863, sponsored by Sen. Todd Gardenhire and Rep. Mark White, would change that, enabling those who have attended Tennessee schools; graduated from a Tennessee high school or GED or home school program; and enrolled at a Tennessee university or college to pay in-state tuition rates and make their dream of college a reality.
By cultivating the talent and potential of these students through a college education, the state will enjoy the benefits that higher education brings. Raising the caliber of our workforce through higher education allows Tennessee to maintain a strong economy, and ensures that Tennessee businesses have a qualified in-state workforce.
In addition, individuals who attend college and obtain professional jobs have increased earnings and greater disposable income to invest back into the Tennessee economy.
Legislation to allow all Tennessee students to apply for in-state tuition is a win-win. For the students, this legislation can make the dream of college a reality. For Tennessee economy and businesses, this measure can increase our tax base and provide more well-trained workers.
A similar bill passed the Senate last year and was one vote away from passing the House. This year, legislators need to hear your voice telling them that tuition equity is fundamentally fair and economically just.