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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: February 10, 2016 09:26 AM
From: Representative Peter Schweyer and Rep. Leslie Acosta
To: All House members
Subject: Pennsylvania Tuition Fairness Act(Dream)
Imminently, we will introduce a legislative proposal, entitled the Pennsylvania Tuition Fairness Act, which would provide in-State tuition and access to financial aid to eligible high school students of immigrant communities.

As many of you know, immigrant parents and their children who arrive in the United States come for a variety of reasons, including seeking economic opportunities and fleeing war, religious oppression and conflict, and cultural and ethnic intolerance. Because of their citizenship status, students of immigrant parents are at a distinct disadvantage when considering access to and the cost of higher education. Consequently, it is our belief that the competitive nature of our 21st Century economy makes it imperative that all students with the intellectual ability, desire, and motivation have access to higher education and financial aid programs. The Commonwealth’s economy and its ability to compete, both nationally and globally, is dependent on a stable and educated workforce, which is more achievable if all high school students have access to affordable higher education.

Accordingly, this legislative proposal would exempt immigrant students, other than a non-immigrant alien, from paying out-of-State tuition at institutions of higher education if certain conditions are met. These conditions would include (1) attendance at a high school in the Commonwealth for three or more years; (2) graduation, or receipt of the equivalent of a high school diploma, from a high school in the Commonwealth; enrolled as an entering student or attendance at an institution of higher education not earlier than the 2015-2016 Fall semester; and, has at least one immigrant parent. As defined under Federal law (the Immigration and Nationality Act) the term “non-immigrant alien” would mean a person who is not a citizen or national of the United States and who seeks temporary entry into the United States for a specific purpose, including, among others, a student. Our proposal would further make immigrant students eligible to apply for and participate in financial aid programs administered by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), and would apply to independent institutions of higher education that receive assistance grants pursuant to The Institutional Assistance Grant Act and that participate in financial aid or loan guaranty programs administered by the PHEAA.

We thank you in advance for joining us as a sponsor of this legislative proposal.

Introduced as HB1886