ICYMI: Bipartisan Tuition Equity Bill Could Boost Georgia’s Economy, Invigorate Workforce
ATLANTA, GA — In case you missed it, State Representative Wes Cantrell (R-Woodstock) and his colleagues introduced HB 932, legislation that could boost the economy by helping eliminate academic barriers for Georgia students with certain refugee, special immigrant, or humanitarian parole status. FWD.us Georgia State Immigration Director Jaime Rangel issued the following statement in response:
“Georgia communities are filled with hardworking people from all walks of life who want to contribute to the place they call home, and tuition equity is an important way we utilize the skills and talents of our state’s immigrants while generating better-paying jobs and increasing state, local, and federal taxes. As an immigrant who came to this country as a child, I’ve been working diligently with business leaders, the BIG Partnership, as well as with lawmakers on the bipartisan Georgia House Study Committee on Innovative Ways to Maximize Global Talent to elevate tuition equity as a commonsense solution that will bolster workforce participation and economic contributions of Georgia’s immigrant and refugee communities. It is uplifting to see lawmakers recognize the community and economic benefits of this policy by introducing HB 932, especially as our state continues to battle critical labor shortages, and I encourage our legislators to continue to move tuition equity for Dreamers forward. In fact, providing tuition equity for nearly 30,000 young Georgia Dreamers — including DACA recipients like myself — could add as much as $10 million to the economy annually.
“These types of innovative solutions are urgently needed so we can tap into the full potential of our state, and it shows real leadership at the state-level while we await for immigration reform in Congress. I thank Representative Cantrell and his colleagues for their commitment to increasing economic opportunities in Georgia through pro-immigration, pro-growth legislation, and encourage all lawmakers under the Gold Dome to move tuition equity forward. Further, I’m eager to continue my conversations with leaders to ensure all Georgia Dreamers can earn an education and enter the workforce in the state they call home.”
HB 932 was introduced by Representative Wes Cantrell (R-Woodstock) to extend in-state tuition upon settling in Georgia for refugees, Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders, or Afghan citizens or nationals who have humanitarian parole. Currently, these individuals have to wait a year in Georgia before being able to access in-state tuition rates for Georgia schools. The bill has already garnered support from the Business & Immigration for Georgia (BIG) Partnership, a collaboration of business and community leaders who are committed to strengthening Georgia’s economy by tapping the potential of the state’s foreign-born population.
According to a report conducted by FWD.us last year, a similar policy for extending access to in-state tuition for young undocumented Georgians, otherwise known as Dreamers, could add as much as $10 million to the economy each year by generating better-paying jobs and increasing tax contributions.