ATLANTA, GA – Today, the Committee on Higher Education in the Georgia House of Representatives passed the Georgia Resident In-State Tuition Act (HB-120) out of Committee. This bipartisan legislation aims to strengthen Georgia’s workforce and economy by allowing Georgia’s DACA recipients to qualify for a tuition rate that would be no higher than 110% of in-state tuition at certain state colleges and universities.
The Georgia Resident In-State Tuition Act will lower tuition costs for DACA recipients who have established and maintained domicile in Georgia since January 1, 2013 or are the dependent of a parent who has established or maintained domicile in Georgia since January 1, 2013, and who have graduated from a Georgia high school or have a GED, among other requirements. Co-sponsors of the bill include State Representatives Dale Washburn (R-Macon), Mathew Gambill (R-Cartersville), Zulma Lopez (D-Atlanta), Bee Nguyen (D-Atlanta), and Wes Cantrell (R -Woodstock).
Georgia is home to an estimated 21,000 Dreamers who grew up here, work in vital industries, and support our economy through state and local taxes and as members of the essential workforce responding to COVID-19. However, the current system only allows Dreamers to access out-of-state tuition rates, which is at least three times higher than the in-state cost to study at University System of Georgia schools.
Following today’s passage, the bill is headed to the House Rules Committee.
Below are statements from FWD.us Georgia Immigration State Director Samuel Aguilar and FWD.us Immigration Associate Jaime Rangel on the passage of the Georgia Resident In-State Tuition Act out of Committee:
FWD.us Georgia Immigration State Director Samuel Aguilar: “We applaud the Committee on Higher Education for taking an important step towards providing tuition equity for Georgia’s Dreamers. By passing the Georgia Resident In-State Tuition Act (HB-120) out of committee today, Georgia lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are sending a clear message that they are willing to work together to find common sense immigration solutions that benefit the entire state. Expanding tuition equity for Georgia’s Dreamers will encourage talented and qualified young immigrants who want to build on their foundation here in Georgia to contribute even more to the diversity and innovation of our state’s economy. These young individuals can help strengthen our workforce and fill the gaps in key industries such as education, health care, and information technology. We look forward to continuing our work with Georgia leaders to further expand opportunities and opportunities that will grow the state’s economy and workforce while empowering immigrant communities. We urge members of Georgia’s House Rules committee to schedule House bill 120 for a floor vote before the crossover deadline on March 8.”
DACA recipient and FWD.us Immigration Associate Jaime Rangel: “This bill helps open the door for future bipartisan collaboration around immigration reform in Georgia. Thousands of young Dreamers across the state are eager to earn a higher education in the place they call home. Dreamers in Georgia and across the nation face ample challenges, which I’ve seen firsthand as a DACA recipient and throughout my years working to support immigrants. Arbitrarily limiting access to in-state tuition rates only discourages them from reaching their full potential and pushes them to pursue opportunities elsewhere – taking their talents and tax dollars with them. Importantly, this bill will help strengthen our state’s workforce and economy as a global competitor – benefiting all Georgians for years to come. I encourage lawmakers to continue working together on this effort for a stronger tomorrow.”