On October 19, Governor Dan McKee, joined by Senator Sandra Cano, Representative Grace Diaz, Commissioner Shannon Gilkey and the presidents of the three public institutions of higher education, signed into law legislation (2021-S 990, 2021-H 5238) that will ensure in-state tuition for Rhode Island students regardless of immigration status.
“Education is a promise for a better future, and this bill demonstrates Rhode Island’s commitment to supporting all students,” said Governor McKee. “This legislation is not only about equity, but an increased access to higher education, which will benefit our community for years to come.”
“This is an issue that I am extremely passionate about. As someone who came to this country with very little, I know first-hand the opportunities that a good education can bring to someone who is willing to work hard,” said Rep. Diaz (D-Dist. 11, Providence). “With limited skills-based jobs, improving college affordability is becoming a bigger priority for everyone. And we have so much untapped potential that has come into our state from all over the world.”
“Education is what led me to where I am today after first immigrating to this country as a teenager from Colombia, and I believe that all of the children with similar backgrounds such as mine should have the same opportunity. This bill will provide those opportunities for our young students who wish nothing more than to better themselves and their futures through education in order to provide for themselves, their families, and their communities,” said Sen. Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket).
"The Student Success legislation took a decade to pass into law, and I congratulate all of the advocates who championed the cause," said Commissioner Gilkey. "Our Council on Postsecondary Education* first enacted this policy for URI, CCRI and RIC in 2011, and today's signing ensures that in-state tuition rates cannot be revoked. Our council is incredibly proud and will continue to advocate for policies and laws that ensure equity and affordability in higher education."
To be eligible, a student must attend an approved Rhode Island high school for three years, continue to reside in Rhode Island, and file for lawful immigration status as soon as they are eligible.
*formerly the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education