New bill offers in-state tuition to recent refugees

DENVER — Refugees and Special Immigration Visa recipients will soon be eligible for in-state tuition at Colorado colleges.

Gov. John Hickenlooper is slated to sign a bill allowing easier access to higher education at a special ceremony on Wednesday, according to the International Rescue Committee in Denver.

The bill will waive the traditional one-year residency requirement for college students and will lower higher education costs.

DRIVE Project Colorado, Veterans for American Ideals and International Rescue Committee in Denver helped craft the bill.

The organizations that collaborated on the project said that the people who will benefit from the bill “come with high-level skills, with approximately 20 percent of refugee and SIV arrivals holding a bachelor level degree or higher. More than 30 percent of SIVs and refugees in Colorado seek out additional job training that will open up career opportunities. Still, 50 percent report that they remain underemployed, working in jobs that do not leverage their professional training and skills, with inaccessible higher education among the top barriers faced in re-entering their fields.”

Travis Weiner, an Iraq war veteran and member of Veterans for American Ideal,s believes this bill “will allow them to re-enter the workforce in positions that are suited to their qualifications, which is particularly important for SIVs,” he said.

The bill signing ceremony will take place at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Community College of Aurora Lowry Campus, Todd Bergren Room.

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