032224KP9631SPRINGFIELD - To create continued opportunities in higher education for immigrants, State Senator Ram Villivalam advanced a measure out of the Senate Higher Education Committee to expand pathways for an individual to be eligible for in-state tuition.

“Expanding eligibility pathways for in-state tuition is vital to providing affordable and accessible higher education for all people within our communities,” said Villivalam (D-Chicago). “It is important to continue diversifying avenues to access higher education to ensure a talented workforce in the state of Illinois.”

Under Villivalam’s measure, an individual could obtain in-state tuition by being an Illinois resident prior to enrolling in the respective university, be a high school graduate from a school within Illinois, or have attended a high school within Illinois for at least two years prior to enrollment.

Another option would be for the individual to have either attended a high school in Illinois, attended a private or public community college within Illinois, or a combination of college and high school in Illinois for at least two years with a cumulative total of three years before enrolling at the university. They also must have graduated from a high school, earned an associate’s degree, or completed at least 60 credit hours of graded and transferable coursework at a public community college.

Both pathways would require the individual to swear and affirm to the respective university that they will file an application to become a permanent resident of the United States at their earliest opportunity, if they are not already a permanent resident or citizen.

“As we continue to hear about the need to make college more affordable for working families in our vibrant communities, it is imperative that we expand in state tuition opportunities at our state’s public universities,” said Villivalam. “Higher education provides access to wide arrays of opportunities, and breaking down the barriers to its accessibility is a step in the right direction.”

Senate Bill 461 passed the Senate Higher Education Committee unanimously on Tuesday, and will head to the Senate for further deliberation.