Minnesota Passes New Law Providing Free Tuition for Low-Income Immigrant Students
Minnesota has become the latest state to pass a law offering free tuition for students from low-income families who are attending public colleges in the state. The North Star Promise program is aimed at increasing enrollment at public college campuses across the state, which have seen declining numbers of students enrolling in recent years. Under the new law, students whose families earn $80,000 or less are eligible to apply.
Applicants must meet residency requirements and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. They must also maintain good academic standing to remain eligible for the tuition assistance. However, the $80,000 limit has been criticized by Republicans, who argue that it is unfair to working-class families who earn more than the threshold but could still use financial aid.
The North Star Promise program is estimated to cost approximately $117 million for the first year and $49.5 million every year following that, with the program set to begin in the 2024-2025 school year. Minnesota will join California in allowing immigrants living in the U.S. illegally to receive free tuition. Democrats in Minnesota have also passed laws granting illegal immigrants access to driver’s licenses and public health insurance.
State Senator Omar Fateh, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Higher Education committee, sees the bill as an “enrollment driver.” The aim is to increase the number of students enrolled at public college campuses throughout the state and provide access to higher education for all students regardless of their financial situation. The new law will provide crucial support for low-income immigrant students and could set an important precedent for other states to follow.