The Colorado State University System Board of Governors today voted to support Senate Bill 13-33 in the Colorado General Assembly, which would allow undocumented immigrants who graduate from a Colorado high school to pay in-state tuition at the state’s public colleges and universities.
“This isn’t about immigration status – this is about ensuring that the pathways to opportunity are open to all Colorado’s children,” said Mary Lou Makepeace, a member of the CSU System Board of Governors. “These children were brought to Colorado by their parents; they didn’t have a choice. They’ve attended our public schools and played by the rules. The CSU System is committed to building a stronger Colorado through higher education, and this legislation simply opens that door to qualified students who might not otherwise have such an opportunity through no fault of their own.”
As the governing body of Colorado’s only land-grant institution, the CSU System – which includes CSU in Fort Collins, CSU-Pueblo and the 100-percent online CSU-Global Campus – has a special mission to deliver an affordable, high-quality college education to all eligible students throughout the state.
“Colorado, our nation, and society as a whole benefit from having an educated populace,” CSU System Chancellor Mike Martin said. “What happens to these kids if we deny them access to higher education? What is the impact on their lives, the economy and our state? Giving the children of undocumented immigrants access to an affordable university education gives them the chance to come out of the shadows, build a better future for themselves and ultimately help make Colorado a better place.”
The CSU System is committed to serving underserved student populations. For example, one out of four students at CSU in Fort Collins is the first in his or her family to attend college. In addition, CSU-Pueblo is designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution, meaning more than 25 percent of the student population is of Latino descent.
“There is no downside to expanding the pool of qualified resident high school graduates who are eligible to attend one of Colorado’s public colleges or universities,” Makepeace said. “At a time when Colorado needs to do a better job of growing its own high-quality workforce, it just makes sense to offer the opportunity of higher education to as many qualified Colorado high school graduates as possible, regardless of immigration status.”