Oregon lawmakers heard appeals today for and against a bill that would allow the state's immigrant high school graduates to pay in-state college tuition fees at Oregon's public universities.
House Bill 2787 is still being reviewed by a committee, but is said to be on the fast track for approval and advancement to the full house.
Just how many students would be affected is a blind statistic since Oregon's K through 12 public education is unconditional. No proof of citizenship or social security card is required to enroll.
It's different at the college level. Each Oregon college has its own policy on whether or not it requires a student to provide a social security number in order to be admitted.
Under the bill, in order to qualify for the resident tuition the student must have five years of education in the US, attended an Oregon school for at least three years, have an Oregon high school diploma or equivalent, and swear they'll apply for citizenship when they're legally eligible.
The bill only covers tuition rates and does not address the matter of financial aid, which requires the applicant have a social security number.
Opponents say the measure would offer an unfair benefit to illegal immigrants over US citizens who come from other states to attend Oregon's colleges.
The committee could vote by Friday on whether to advance the bill to the full house.