Santiago Bill Aims to Make Higher Education More Affordable for Undocumented Students

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Los Angeles, CA – AB 1620 marks the latest effort in California to improve the accessibility and affordability of a higher education for Dreamers. The measure, authored by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), would allow more undocumented students to attend state colleges and universities at a lower cost by expanding access to in-state tuition.

AB 1620 crossed its first major hurdle on Tuesday in the Assembly Higher Education Committee with overwhelming support.

“We want to make sure that all California students have access to a college education they can afford, regardless of their legal status,” Assemblymember Santiago said. “Our in-state tuition rates should be more accessible to those who play such a vital role in developing our culture and strengthening our economy.”

The cost-barriers to earning a college degree are particularly steep for undocumented students who live in California. They are not technically considered “legal residents”, making them ineligible for in-state tuition; and the federal government bars them from accessing federal financial aid.

While some undocumented students qualify for in-state tuition and financial aid, there are many who cannot meet certain eligibility requirements – such as attending a secondary school in the state for three or more years.

By reducing the barrier to more affordable in-state tuition rates by just one year, AB 1620 will make it easier for students to earn their degrees and join California’s 21st century workforce.

Assemblymember Miguel Santiago is the Chair of the Assembly’s Communications and Conveyance Committee, and a member of both the Assembly Public Safety Committee and the California Latino Legislative Caucus. He represents the 53rd District composed of the cities of Los Angeles, Huntington Park, and Vernon.