A new Colorado law will make it cheaper for undocumented students to attend college, as they will be charged in-state tuition rates so long as they attended high school in the state for three years.
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bill today, which made Colorado the 14th state to have a law allowing undocumented teens to attend college at in-state rates.
While he signed, hundreds cheered, as the law has long been awaited.
"Holy smokes, are you guys fired up?" he asked the crowd that gathered at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. "Yeah, I thought so."
Prior to the law, students were required to pay out-of-state rates, which are three times higher than those charged to Colorado residents.
Those who are undocumented and wish to attend college at an in-state rate are required to sign an affidavit saying they have applied for U.S. residency or "will soon."
They also must prove that they have been admitted to an in-state college within a year after graduating as of September 2013, along with proving that they went to high school in the state for three years.
But for there is still hope for those who do not meet those requirements. Students who graduated or earned their General Education Development certificate before 2013 but did not enroll in college within a year can still receive in-state tuition if they lived in Colorado for 18 consecutive months.
The bill, called Advancing Students for a Stronger Economy Tomorrow, was passed on March 8 by the state House of Representatives. It marked the end of a decade-long fight by advocates who sought tuition equity for students who were undocumented. There were five prior bills which failed to attain enough votes.
"Today we're here to tell you, in Colorado, that the doors are open and the dream is alive," state Sen. Mike Johnston said.