Illegal immigrants will be eligible for free college tuition in the state of Minnesota, according to Axios.
Under Minnesota’s free tuition program, dubbed the “North Star Promise,” illegal immigrants will have their full tuition paid for if they enroll in a two or four-year program within the University of Minnesota or Minnesota State systems and come from a household with an income of $80,000 0r less, according to Axios. To be eligible for the free tuition, applicants must have either graduated from a Minnesota high school or have lived in the state for a year without being enrolled in a college for six months.
“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,” Democratic state Senate Higher Education Chair Omar Fateh told the outlet.
Applicants must also submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, which helps determine which students need financial aid, Axios reported.
The program will begin in the 2024-2025 school year and is expected to cost $117 million in its first fiscal year, accordingto the Associated Press.
“We’ve been seeing declining enrollment on all campuses,” Fateh told the outlet after an agreement was met on legislation that included the “North Star Promise.” “If we don’t do something quick, we’re at risk of shutting down some campuses. … I see this bill as an enrollment driver.”
In California, 14% of eligible illegal immigrants took advantage of the state’s free tuition program, according to a California Student Aid Commission report.
Minnesota unveiled its new program for illegal immigrants following the expiration of Title 42, a Trump-era policy that was used to turn away migrants in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Just days ahead of the expiration of Title 42, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) logged a record-breaking number of migrant encounters for three continuous days.