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Undocumented immigrants eligible for free college in Minnesota

Nearly 81,000 Minnesota residents who are undocumented immigrants can receive up to 120 credit hours of free tuition at a state university.
Undocumented immigrants eligible for free college in Minnesota
Posted at 3:17 PM, Jun 05, 2023

Starting in 2024, undocumented immigrants in Minnesota will be among those eligible for tuition-free public college for state residents from families making less than $80,000 annually.

Chris Meyer, legislative assistant to State Sen. Omar Fateh, confirmed to Scripps News that a new education bill passed by lawmakers last month would provide these benefits to undocumented immigrants. Fateh was among those sponsoring the bill.

Meyer told Scripps News that undocumented immigrants would need to fill out a Minnesota Dream Act application since they aren't eligible for FAFSA. Other potential students are required to fill out a FAFSA form. 

The bill was signed into law last month by Gov. Tim Walz. 

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The proposal is contained within the biannual higher education bill, which passed the House last month by a 69-63 margin and the Senate by 34-30. 

The state-funded scholarships would be good for up to 60 credit hours for those seeking an associate's degree and 120 credit hours for those working toward a bachelor's degree. Those who already hold a bachelor's degree are not eligible for the scholarships. 

Recipients are required to remain in good academic standing. 

No funding will be provided to those making more than $80,000 annually. Those attending private schools will also not be eligible. 

"As the chair of Higher Education in the Senate, tuition-free college was my number one priority. I’m proud to make it a reality for tens of thousands of working-class families, along with historic investment in student support," said Fateh. 

According to the Migration Policy Institute, Minnesota has an undocumented immigrant population of 81,000, out of a total population of 5.7 million. The group estimates that 22% of undocumented immigrants over age 25 have a college degree.

Earlier this year, Minnesota became one of the handful of states that allow undocumented immigrants to get a driver's license. 


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