ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP/WAVY) — Attorney General Mark Herring is telling Virginia colleges that they can grant in-state tuition to thousands of students who were previously considered ineligible because of their immigration status.
The policy change, announced Tuesday at Northern Virginia Community College, is a change from the Democrat’s Republican predecessors.
In the past, the attorney general’s office had advised that students who entered the country illegally were barred from receiving in-state tuition, even if they were children when they immigrated.
Herring says students can qualify for the reduced tuition under a special immigration status created by the Obama administration for certain young people brought to the country as children.
“If the Commonwealth is to remain competitive in a global economy, we must embrace a strategy that maximizes our talent pool and helps all Virginians reach their full potential,” Herring said. “These ‘DREAMers’ are already Virginians in some very important ways. In most cases they were raised here, they graduated from Virginia schools, and they have known no home but Virginia. They might be the valedictorian or salutatorian of their high school, but because they were brought here as children many years ago, an affordable education remains out of their reach. Instead of punishing and placing limits on these smart, talented, hard-working young people, Virginia should extend them an opportunity for an affordable education. It’s what the law requires, it makes economic sense for Virginia, and it’s the right thing to do.”
“Attorney General Herring’s announcement that Virginia DREAMers will now qualify for in-state tuition at Virginia’s public community colleges and universities is welcome news for our Commonwealth. Access to quality, affordable higher education will provide an additional path to help them reach their full potential and ultimately help grow Virginia’s economy as productive members of the state’s workforce and their communities,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) added. “These are young people in whom we have already invested through public elementary and secondary education and who deserve the opportunity to fully give back to the only country they have ever called home.”
“Today’s announcement is an important step in the direction of fairness and economic opportunity for the children of undocumented immigrants,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) said. “If the United States is going to win the talent competition in today’s global economy, the last thing we need to do is exclude educated young people who were brought here through no fault of their own. When I was governor, we tried to ensure that DREAMers would have access to in-state tuition at Virginia’s public colleges and universities and I’m thrilled that Attorney General Herring has determined that under law, these Virginians will have access to educational opportunity.”