As a student government we continually focus on how to best advocate for current and future students of CU-Boulder. Sometimes we have the unique opportunity to expand that base and advocate for students all over Colorado. It is important for the youth to start advocating for each other, and recognize the troubles facing our state in education. Colorado is 49th in the nation in funding higher education institutions and 32nd in sending their high school graduates to an institution of higher learning. Right now our attention is turned toward the re-introduction of the ASSET bill at the Colorado State House.
The Colorado General Assembly has another chance to pass the ASSET bill and join the other 12 states that currently provide in-state tuition rates to undocumented students, including California, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The re-introduced ASSET bill seeks to provide in-state tuition eligibility to undocumented students who attended a Colorado high school for three years prior to graduation or finishing a GED and have been accepted to a state college or university. These students will also have to provide an affidavit stating they have applied for lawful residency or intend to apply when they are able. This bill does not allow these students to be eligible for state financial aid.
As it stands now we are penalizing students that have gone through the Colorado school system and met all the requirements for entering an institution of higher education. Just when they want to pay into the education system, we make it as unaffordable and inequitable as possible. Colorado is one of four states that legally prohibits in-state tuition for undocumented students, and one of three states that would be unable to implement the DREAM Act without state legislation.
This bill has many benefits for the state. Coloradans have put thousands of dollars into our K-12 education system to educate children regardless of their citizenship status; after investing so much time and money, we block some students from achieving a college education because of choices made for them when they were children.
The ASSET bill would allow us to leverage our investment in education by increasing the number of Colorado high school students who attend college. We need to widen the pathways for more students to access the benefits that a college education affords. Overall though, this is a human issue. We feel that it is unacceptable to continue the inequality of higher tuition rates for students that deserve and have earned in-state tuition at the University of Colorado-Boulder and other universities in the state.
We don't want to continually be at the bottom of national education statistics and be left behind as a state. Currently, the bill has been assigned to the Senate Education Committee; the date is not finalized when it will be heard there. CUSG joins the Board of Regents, the City of Boulder, Inter-campus Student Forum, CSU and others in supporting the passage of this bill. My request to you, the reader, is that you stay informed about policy that impacts higher education and youth in general. Politics doesn't stop after elections; policy is where the action takes place.