Advocacy Groups Participate in Positive Legislative Hearing for Expanded Access for Immigrant Students While Calling For less Restrictions
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2021
James C. Woo
404.585.8446 x 104
Atlanta, GA — On Friday, February 19th, Advancing Justice-Atlanta testified acknowledging the progress made towards tuition equity with the hearing of bipartisan supported House Bill 120, Georgia Resident In-State Tuition Act (HB 120). We appreciate Representative Kasey Carpenter’s efforts in bringing HB 120 before the House Higher Education Committee. The committee hearing included its share of distractions which Chairman Chuck Martin handled with care while reminding everyone of the purpose of today’s hearing and providing an opportunity for everyone to provide testimony. Though the bill still leaves out thousands of Georgians, Friday’s committee meeting shows that there is a shared goal towards providing equity for immigrant students.
During Friday’s hearing, a diverse group of supporters discussed and provided feedback on HB 120. There was nearly universal support for extending in-state tuition to DACA recipients among all those who testified. Testimony included impacted community members who bravely shared their stories.
As reflected in its initial version, HB 120 provides conditions for noncitizen students to receive in-state tuition in Georgia at non-research universities in the University System of Georgia. During Friday’s hearing, a substitute bill was shared that added further restrictions to the bill. Despite its intention to create equitable access, the new language makes DACA recipients and other deferred action recipients the only noncitizens eligible for in-state tuition. This excludes the vast majority of noncitizens in Georgia, including Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), asylees, immigrants with TPS (Temporary Protected Status), and immigrants issued U-visas and T-visas, among others.
Further, the bill does not allow noncitizen students to apply for in-state tuition if they attend Georgia State University or Augusta University or if they are over the age of 30 at the time of application for admission. These are arbitrary and unnecessary restrictions that further prevent Georgia’’s noncitizen students from obtaining equitable access to higher education.
As members of the Georgia Immigrant Rights Alliance, the only immigrant-led statewide policy table in Georgia, we support expanding access to in-state tuition but are committed to pushing for wider and more inclusive expansion. HB 120 is a step in the right direction, but it falls short for countless students and their families who need better access to higher education.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta
Asian American Advocacy Fund
Athens Immigrant Rights Coalition
Council on American-Islamic Relations Georgia
Coalition of Lideres Latinos
Georgia Association of Latina Elected Officials
Laotian American Society
Latino Community Fund Georgia
Sur Legal Collaborative
Women Watch Afrika