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Lawmakers mulling in-state tuition for undocumented students

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Two proposals that would give undocumented students easier access to higher education in the state are quietly advancing, the U of M newspaper Minnesota Daily reports.

One bill that would make it possible for undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates at Minnesota colleges and universities was approved earlier this month by a Senate panel. It now awaits action in the Senate Finance Committee.

Sponsor Sen. Sandra Pappas told the Star Tribune it's too early to tell if the legislation stands a chance of becoming law this year in the DFL-controlled Legislature.

The legislation would also allow the students who meet certain critieria to apply for state grants and private scholarships.

Critics have previously argued that providing discounted tuition to illegal immigrants is not fair to citizens who pay taxes.

Meanwhile, Gov. Mark Dayton is urging lawmakers to adopt federal guidelines on admitting undocumented students, Minnesota Daily reports.

Twelve states have laws that allow undocumented students who meet specific requirements to receive in-state tuition rates at public postsecondary schools, the National Council of State Legislatures reported last year. Four states specifically prohibit in-state tuition for undocumented students, the group reports.

Students in Pennsylvania this year are also prodding state lawmakers there to allow in-state tuition for undocumented students, WESA, NPR's affiliate in Pittsburgh, reported last week.

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Bachmann once voted for bill to give undocumented students in-state tuition

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been taking fire from rival Republicans for signing a bill that gives undocumented students in-state tuition rates. One of those critics, Michele Bachmann, voted for similar legislation while serving in the Minnesota Senate. Bachmann did, however, speak out against certain aspects of the bill. That bill ultimately failed.