The Metropolitan State College of Denver board of trustees approved a tuition cut for students without valid U.S. citizenship on a 7-1 vote on June 7. The long-awaited decision took place just two days after about three dozen students gathered outside of President Obama’s Denver, Colorado, campaign office, urging him to pass the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM Act. While it is not known if the demonstration had anything to do with the trustees approval, the large Latino population at the school may have been a major factor.
According to the Denver Post, it is estimated that nearly 18 percent of the students enrolled at Metro State are Latino. If the amount reaches 25 percent, which it may after this breakthrough, the school will be eligible for a Hispanic-Serving Institution grant of up to $35 million.
The new tuition will support undocumented immigrants by decreasing the cost of classes by 42 percent, something that the Dr. Stephen Jordan, president of the Metropolitan State College of Denver, told ABC affiliate KUSA-TV is something the school will continue to stand for.
“We’ve always served historically underrepresented populations, first generation populations,” Dr. Jordan said. “We think these students fit in with exactly the mission that we serve.”
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Colorado now joins 13 other states including California, Illinois and Connecticut, which all have passed similar in-state tuition decreases for undocumented students. While the news is good for immigrants and those that have been advocating for them, there are many critics arguing that the school’s newest law is unconstitutional.
However, Dr. Jordan stands by the decision and says it will open the doors for many people who thought they didn’t have a chance before.
“[They] will now see the possibility of college as a real goal for themselves and will apply themselves more while they are in high school,” Jordan told KUSA-TV.