Bill would let immigrant students pay in-state tuition

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A bill that would let immigrant students who are in the country without documentation pay in-state college tuition has advanced in the Tennessee Legislature.

The Tuition Opportunity Bill passed by a 7-to-2 vote in the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday.

Sen. Todd Gardenhire, a Republican from Chattanooga who sponsored the bill, said the state has already invested in the students by paying for their K-12 education.

Under current law, immigrant students who are in the country without documentation are forced to pay out-of-state tuition because they are not considered legal residents. This means they would have to sometimes pay two or three times the amount of tuition as other students who graduated from Tennessee high schools.

The measure would not make the students eligible for financial aid.