Virginia Becomes First Southern State to Allow
Students who are Undocumented to Pay In-State Tuition —

— “This is a great victory for undocumented students in Virginia. We hope other states will follow Virginia’s lead in opening up the doors to educational opportunities for all.”
– Yanet Limon-Amado, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy

— RICHMOND, April 13, 2020 – Governor Ralph Northam signed historic legislation last week that allows students who are undocumented but meet the residency requirements, access to in-state tuition, regardless of their immigration status. The bills, SB 395 (Sen. Jennifer Boysko and Sen. Ghazala Hashmi) and HB 1547 (Del. Alfonzo Lopez and Del. Mark Keam) will go into effect July 1, 2020.

“Virginia has made history as the first southern state to implement this law, joining twenty states that offer in-state tuition to students who are undocumented. In these states, students, employers, and the entire society have realized tremendous economic and social benefits,” said Kim Bobo, Executive Director of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP).

Many immigrants have completed their entire educational careers in Virginia. They benefit the economy by paying taxes, spending money, and creating jobs. Research shows a college education amounts to an increased $2.7 million in lifetime earnings, which is double the earnings of those with only high school diplomas. An Investment in our students brings investment in our economic prosperity, which will benefit all Virginians.

VICPP is proud to have worked on this legislation with a broad and dedicated coalition of community members, legislators, and organizations including VIIA (Virginia Intercollegiate Immigrant Alliance), VACIR (Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights), NAKASEC (National Korean American Services and Education Consortium), LAJC (Legal Aid Justice Center) and the DREAM Project. VICPP is grateful to the faith leaders and the interfaith community from across Virginia who stood with undocumented students during this fight for many years.

Yanet Limon-Amado, an organizer at VICPP, said, “This win is for all undocumented students in Virginia. They have spent countless days participating in rallies and testifying in committee hearings at the General Assembly. This was a movement created by undocumented students. It’s beautiful to finally see this positive outcome after eight years of fighting. “

While Limon-Amado is thrilled about the legislation, she says, “The work is not over, but this is a great start. Our next step is to make sure that each undocumented student in Virginia can benefit from this, so we need to help with the application process.” VICPP will work with coalition partners to secure the successful implementation of this historic legislation. VICPP will also continue to advocate to make Virginia a more welcoming and just place for all.

Media contact:
Roberta Oster
Communications Director
Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy

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The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy advocates economic, racial, social, and environmental justice in Virginia’s policies and practices through education, prayer, and action. VICPP is a non-partisan coalition of more than 750 faith communities working for a more just society.