Torey Van Oot, Axios, May 31, 2023
Minnesota students who are undocumented immigrants will be eligible for the state’s new tuition-free college program, government officials confirmed to Axios.
The big picture: Democrats used their majority in the Legislature to add a number of state benefits for noncitizens living here.
- Other new laws allow people to obtain driver’s licenses and access MinnesotaCare, the publicly run insurance program for low-income residents, regardless of their immigration status.
What they’re saying: “We want to make sure that when we’re expanding opportunities for everybody, we’re doing it for all Minnesotans, regardless of background, regardless of their documentation status,” Senate Higher Education Chair Omar Fateh (DFL-Minneapolis) told Axios.
How it works: The free college initiative, dubbed “North Star Promise,” will cover tuition at two- or four-year schools in the University of Minnesota or Minnesota State systems for students whose families make $80,000 or less annually.
- In order to qualify, applicants must meet residency requirements, such as graduating from a Minnesota high school or living here for 12 months without being enrolled in college more than half-time.
- Students will also need to submit a FAFSA form and remain in good academic standing.
The other side: Republicans have previously raised concerns about the free college program, which passed as part of a broader higher education spending bill.
- Some argued that the $80,000 threshold would shut out students whose parents already work multiple jobs to support their families.
- Others complained about being left out of the legislation process.