Public Comments for: SB1387 - Students; eligibility for in-state tuition.
Last Name: Reddy Locality: Fairfax County

This bill is discriminatory. It ignores the legal immigrant technology workers's children, legal international students and their children, business visa holders and their children, and legally serving international workers from organizations like World Bank, Diplomatic Services, and United Nations representatives and their children. While all these categories of legal students who are paying taxes to Virginia are not eligible for in-state tuition and the scholarships, this bill proposes to provide that benefit to the undocumented students who broke the laws of the United States of America. There cannot be more discriminatory bill than this. As a tax payer, I am amazed how selfish power hungry politicians become for the sake of votes and keep their powers growing. I recommend to reject this bill and teach a lesson to the elected representatives who are trying to play with citizens hard earned tax money by doling out to less deserving students while ignoring more deserving students.

Last Name: Balta Locality: Richmond City

The passing of this bill would be a very significant step towards providing equal education opportunities for the students in Virginia. All students in Virginia should have a right to access to state financial aid programs and resources. The passing of this bill is not only going to impact the lives of many students, but it is also going to have numerous future benefits to the state of Virginia. Providing access to required educational resources to undocumented students and other aliens will ensure that these students get higher education, and access to greater employment opportunities as a result of their education. Once they have employment opportunities, they will contribute back to the economy of Commonwealth and will also have the chance to receive citizenship as a result of their employment. It is also going to help continuous college students who struggle to pay their tuition as it keeps rising every year.

Last Name: Sobalbarro Locality: Richmond

I fully support SB1387 because it is one step closer to educational equity. The difference between an undocumented student and a documented student is simple, the availability of opportunity. Immigrants in Virginia, in New Jersey, in Texas, and all across the United States make sacrifices everyday to be ideal citizens with the promise of the American dream. A dream that does not discriminate against race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, or citizenship status. A dream that will lift families out of extreme poverty. A dream that proves why America is so great. This bill will help to make the American dream a reality for aspiring students that will become the leaders of tomorrow. As a child of immigrant parents I know that education is many times the only available catalyst for upward mobility. By removing a barrier to education, thousands of Americans will benefit because the result is a skilled and educated workforce. Granting state aid tuition to undocumented students will keep the dream alive in our Commonwealth. I urge you to pass this bill.

Last Name: Hanson Locality: Richmond, VA

I encourage this committee to pass SB 1387 because the bill is integral to providing fair and equal opportunity to education for a significant amount of individuals in Virginia who could not afford the stiff price of higher education. As an immigrant to the US and a student at the University of Richmond, I know how difficult it is to afford college, and how important education is to the future success of individuals. As a result, simply discarding someone from the opportunity to improve their lives and ensure themselves a better future is in some ways preventing "the pursuit of happiness" and inhibiting their ability to pursue their "American dream". While granted, the cost of this bill is concerning, it will recoup the initial expense and then some. Higher education has a lot of externalities associated with it. There is less crime, improved standard of living, and the creation of highly skilled individuals that are going to bring more jobs to the city. Additionally, the creation of jobs and the higher wages associated with skill workers is going to lead to higher taxes paid to the state, something that benefits everyone.

Last Name: Hanson Locality: Richmond, VA

I encourage this committee to pass SB 1387 because the bill is integral to providing fair and equal opportunity to education for a significant amount of individuals in Virginia who could not afford the stiff price of higher education. As an immigrant to the US and a student at the University of Richmond, I know how difficult it is to afford college, and how important education is to the future success of individuals. As a result, simply discarding someone from the opportunity to improve their lives and ensure themselves a better future is in some ways preventing "the pursuit of happiness" and inhibiting their ability to pursue their "American dream". While granted, the cost of this bill is concerning, it will recoup the initial expense and then some. Higher education has a lot of externalities associated with it. There is less crime, improved standard of living, and the creation of highly skilled individuals that are going to bring more jobs to the city. Additionally, the creation of jobs and the higher wages associated with skill workers is going to lead to higher taxes paid to the state, something that benefits everyone.

Last Name: George Organization: LDST Justice and Civil Society: University of Richmond Locality: Richmond City

I encourage you to pass SB1387 as it will provide equity for undocumented students and equal opportunities for education and further success. As an undergraduate at the University of Richmond, I know how difficult it can be for students to pay for a college education and set themselves up for a more successful and beneficial future. Why should only some students be given these opportunities through financial aid and assistance while others suffer from loans and other payments? This bill will support undocumented students in their goals for a brighter future in the United States as it will give them educational opportunities that will aid them in seeking work and other positive externalities as a result of a college degree from a Virginia university. By passing this bill, the state of Virginia will receive more highly educated individuals in the workforce, strengthening the economy and helping people living in the community. Fourteen other states in the US have already extended state aid to undocumented students, which further proves that this bill is a step in the right direction for the state. For equity for students and a better future for the state of Virginia, I urge you to pass this bill.

Last Name: Whitlock Locality: Louisa

As read in its summary, SB1387 is NOT an equitable proposal. Virginia's code already extends in-state tuition to these certain students, and I believe that is fair and helpful. Also, providing many services to any student who may struggle with English is appropriate. However, making a non-citizen equal to a citizen when qualifying for and doling out financial aid is wrong. Financial aid is limited and is tax-payer funded. Why should the other students' needs be dismissed, and so easily? Why is citizenship being so devalued? My paternal grandparents emigrated to the United States from Italy in 1922. Their hardships and poverty were remarkable to me, but in many ways typical for other immigrants in that era. Their children - the next generation - served as soldiers and nurses in two wars, a bricklayer, teachers, secretaries, and even the wife of a lobbyist. My father had two, full-time jobs: a dairy farmer and papermill machine operator. My siblings and I all attended college, with three of us earning at least bachelor's degrees. And the majority of our children have master's degrees, with one holding a doctorate. Everyone of us paid for school through jobs, academic scholarships, or loans. Not one of us ever expected preferential treatment because of where we started. I was always taught that it's not where you start, it's where you finish that counts. If someone wants to be a part of this great nation and benefit from its abundance, then there are many pathways. Hard work, perseverance, and integrity afford a person true ownership of his or her future. I ask that you do not accept this bill as it is poorly conceived.

End of Comments