ASSET Bill Will Open College to Undocumented Students

Tim Goral's picture

After a 10 year fight in the legislature, undocumented students finally got the document they have been waiting for, after it cleared its final hurdle in the Capitol on Friday.

"It's actually going to change the lives of many thousands of students," said Alexa Bailon, a junior at Bishop Machebauf High School in Denver.

Alexa was brought to the United States when she was 4-years-old. She has always wanted to go to college, but the idea of having to pay out-of-state tuition at an in-state school seemed to be a barrier pushing her away from higher education.

"Knowing that the price would maybe be too high for my parents to pay and you know, 2 a.m. in the morning writing a report, you're like I don't know if this is worth it," Alexa said.

It is worth it, now.

The Advancing Students for a Stronger Economy Tomorrow bill or ASSET was approved by the House of Representatives Friday morning. The last stop for the measure will be Governor John Hickenlooper's desk, but he has already stated he will sign it. ASSET will allow undocumented students who have attended a Colorado high school for at least three years and graduated or obtained their G.E.D. the right to obtain in-state tuition at a Colorado college or university. The only provision is that these students have also filed to try to legalize their immigration status.

"It makes a huge difference being able to pay in-state tuition makes it so much more affordable," Alexa said.

This fight started 10 years ago in the corner of a Rosa Linda's Mexican restaurant in Northwest Denver when students gathered to talk with legislators and community leaders like Ricardo Martinez, co-director of Padres y Jovenes Unidos.

"This is the place where the first conversation started," said Martinez, gesturing around the dining room at Rosa Linda's.

He says it's been a long battle, but one that is worthwhile. Martinez believes ASSET will have a bigger effect than just making college affordable. He believes it will instill hope.

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