Illegal immigrants win first battle to get cheaper tuition

7:36 PM, Jan 26, 2012   |    comments
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Thursday, they won the first battle to get that cheaper tuition - a bill giving a "standard-rate tuition" to undocumented students passed a Senate committee 4-3.

The tuition rate would be a middle ground between in-state and out-of-state charges for college students. The bill's sponsors say anywhere from 300 to 500 kids could benefit from the program.

They would qualify if they sign an affidavit to say they're seeking legal status.

The issue became hot during the Republican Presidential Race.

Many Republicans did not like when Texas Governor Rick Perry said he gave in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.

His state is one of 13 that has a similar program.

The debate got emotional for those that testified in Colorado.

One future college student said her brother doesn't have the same opportunities she does.

"Even at this young age, my little brother knows he is different from me," said Alejandra Gonzales, a supporter of the bill. "Because I am a citizen, and we are siblings. We should not be treated differently. I'm sad to think he won't have the same opportunities as me."

Detractors from the bill said America offers plenty of opportunities.

"I feel real bad for these kids," said Pauline Olvera, a member of the Colorado Hispanic GOP delegation. "But they haven't lost any opportunity because this is America. It offers opportunity. It might be a little expensive to go to college, but the opportunity is there."

The bill would give colleges the chance to opt out of creating the separate tuition category.

It is expected to have a tough time passing, if it reaches the Republican controlled house.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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