Washington Poised to Join Handful of States That Give Financial Aid to Immigrants

February 19, 2014

The state Legislature on Tuesday gave final approval to a measure expanding college financial aid to include Washington students brought to the country illegally as children.

Senate Bill 6523 passed the House on a 75-22 bipartisan vote and now goes to Gov. Jay Inslee, who strongly supports the measure. The bill is the first to pass both chambers of the Legislature this session, which ends March 13.

"While we've opened the doors of our colleges and universities to students from all walks of life, too many still face an insurmountable financial barrier," Inslee said in a written statement issued after the vote. "This bill ensures that the young men and women we've invested in at our high schools and who aspire to become productive American citizens will now have fair access to the financial support they need to turn their dreams into reality."

The Senate measure, called the "Real Hope Act," is nearly identical to a measure that passed out of the House last month and was called the Washington Dream Act. The measure expands state financial aid for college students in the country without legal status.

The measure requires students to have received a high school diploma or equivalent in Washington state and to have lived in the state for at least three years before getting aid.

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