Governor Dan McKee, joined by Senator Sandra Cano and Representative Grace Diaz, today signed into law legislation (2021-S 990, 2021-H 5238) which will ensure in-state tuition for Rhode Island students regardless of immigration status.
The bill signing took place at the Community College of Rhode Island – Liston Campus in Providence.
“Education is a promise for a better future and this bill demonstrates Rhode Island’s commitment to supporting all students,” said Governor McKee. “This legislation is not only about equity, but an increased access to higher education, which will benefit our community for years to come.”
“This is an issue that I am extremely passionate about. As someone who came to this country with very little, I know first-hand the opportunities that a good education can bring to someone who is willing to work hard,” said Rep. Diaz (D-Dist. 11, Providence). “With limited skills-based jobs, improving college affordability is becoming a bigger priority for everyone. And we have so much untapped potential that has come into our state from all over the world.”
“Education is what led me to where I am today after first immigrating to this country as a teenager from Colombia and I believe that all of the children with similar backgrounds such as mine should have the same opportunity. This bill will provide those opportunities for our young students who wish nothing more than to better themselves and their futures through education in order to provide for themselves, their families and their communities,” said Sen. Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket).
“As an institution of higher education, we firmly believe every person deserves access to a college degree, no matter their financial position or immigration status. The Student Success Act makes higher education more affordable and accessible for many more Rhode Islanders, furthers their future social and economic mobility, and helps strengthen our communities,” said Meghan Hughes, Ph.D., president of the Community College of Rhode Island. “I thank Governor McKee, Representative Diaz, Senator Cano, and all the sponsors of this transformative act for their commitment to supporting increased access to higher education for everyone.”
To be eligible, a student must attend an approved Rhode Island high school for three years, continue to reside in Rhode Island, and file for lawful immigration status as soon as they are eligible.
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