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Indiana lawmakers consider in-state tuition for undocumented students

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Currently, Indiana prohibits undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition at public colleges and universities. But that may change.

During a legislative study committee hearing yesterday, several Hoosier lawmakers said they would support a bill allowing undocumented students to receive in-state tuition, according to the IndyStar.

Currently, undocumented students receive access to free public education from elementary school through high school. But they’re out of luck if they want to pursue higher education.

According to federal law, publicly-funded institutions can’t help undocumented students financially with scholarships, aid or other monetary benefits.

But they can adopt legislation to allow these students to receive in-state tuition. The IndyStar spoke with Angela Adams, a Carmel-based immigration attorney. She said there are at least 21 states that allow undocumented students to receive in-state tuition. Those states base in-state eligibility on graduation from a state school. She believes Indiana could use that same model.

“Students should not be deprive of a college education because of their parents’ choices,” Adams said.

Several committee members said they felt the same way, but others said they’d like to learn more about both sides of the issue. “I think it’d be a gross mistake at this point not to make some changes,” Rep. Tony Cook, R-Cicero, told IndyStar.

Indiana lawmakers have two months to consider the issue before making recommendation for the next legislative session.