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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: February 3, 2023 11:20 AM
From: Representative Kevin J. Boyle
To: All House members
Subject: In-State Tuition for DREAMers
Education is a basic right. Our state’s undocumented students who have lived in this country for most, if not all, of their lives and have contributed to their communities are at a significant disadvantage in terms of exercising this right. College affordability is a roadblock that cannot be maneuvered for many across the state, but that is especially so for these undocumented students who wish to achieve a higher education and a better life.  

Students attending any of the fourteen institutions that comprise the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) that are not United States citizens are presumed to not be domiciled in Pennsylvania. They may refute this presumption by providing “clear and convincing evidence.” These instances, however, are decided on a case-by-case basis, which discourages countless numbers of students from attempting to be considered a resident for tuition purposes. Considering the significant cost difference between in-state and out-of-state tuitions, as well as the fact that undocumented students are not eligible for federal financial aid, college not only becomes too expensive, but unrealistic and unreachable for many of these students. 

Nearly all these students had no choice in entering the United States, often being too young to decide, or even to remember. Most have lived in this country without incident for most of their lives and this is the only country they have known. Under my legislation, an undocumented individual would be eligible to pay Pennsylvania resident tuition rates at any PASSHE institution, community college, or state-related university, provided they meet a standard of requirements. These requirements would include, but are not limited to, graduation from a public or nonpublic secondary school in the state, payment of state income taxes for at least three years prior to enrollment in college and providing an affidavit to the college or university that the student will file an application to a become a permanent resident. 

Introduced as HB956