SPRINGFIELD - To create continued opportunities in higher education for immigrants, State Senator Ram Villivalam advanced a measure to expand pathways for an individual to be eligible for in-state tuition.

“Higher education provides a wide array of opportunities, and sometimes the only thing standing in the way is affordability,” said Villivalam (D-Chicago). “When you broaden the ways one can qualify for in-state tuition, you give so many more a chance to achieve their educational goals.”

Under Villivalam’s measure, an individual could obtain in-state tuition by being an Illinois resident prior to enrolling in the respective university, be a high school graduate from a school within Illinois, or have attended a high school within Illinois for at least two years prior to enrollment.

Another option would be for the individual to have either attended a high school in Illinois, attended a private or public community college within Illinois, or a combination of college and high school in Illinois for at least two years with a cumulative total of three years before enrolling at the university. They also must have graduated from a high school, earned an associate’s degree, or completed at least 60 credit hours of graded and transferable coursework at a public community college.

Both pathways would require the individual to swear and affirm to the respective university that they will file an application to become a permanent resident of the United States at their earliest opportunity, if they are not already a permanent resident or citizen.

“Expanding in-state tuition pathways breaks down barriers, especially for our working families,” said Villivalam. “This measure can help make higher education a reality for many, which is a step in the right direction to continue enriching and investing in our communities.”

Senate Bill 461 passed the Senate in a bipartisan fashion, where it now awaits a vote in the House.