After a ten year effort by countless stakeholders, Senator Johnston’s Colorado ASSET Bill passed the state legislature on March 8th. The bill will allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at Colorado colleges and universities as long as they attend a Colorado high school for three years and graduate or earn a GED. Governor Hickenlooper is expected to sign the bill into law, meaning students will be able to take advantage of the more affordable tuition rate this fall.
Under current law, undocumented students who have graduated from Colorado high schools and have benefited from the state’s investment in K-12 education are forced to pay out-of-state tuition, a prohibitive expense that most cannot afford.
This essentially means Coloradans are not receiving a return on their investment, because these students are not enrolling in college or are moving out-of-state. As a high school principal, many of Senator Johnston’s students excelled in school, but then lost hope when they learned they would be required to pay the out-of-state tuition rate. Senator Johnston has introduced a version of ASSET each year since 2011.
During his remarks in support of the bill, Senator Johnston said providing in-state tuition to undocumented students is an important step toward fairness and equality. “We come here today to close a chapter in American history, and to open a new one,” said Sen. Johnston.“For me personally, there’s no more significant bill that I’ve worked on that’s going to make an actual impact on human beings. Literally, there are going to be cell phones, text messages lighting up in classrooms across Colorado from kids saying, ‘This passed, this is a reality’,” said Sen. Johnston.