On Wednesday, March 22, members of campus organizations joined together to raise awareness of a tuition equality bill that failed to pass last year in the Tennessee General Assembly.
Anthony Cross, president of the College Republicans, said it is unfair to punish students with higher tuition due to circumstances they had no control of.
“When I explain this to people I use the metaphor; you are a passenger in a car and the driver speeds and you get pulled over by a cop,” Cross said. “Does the cop give you both a ticket? It doesn’t make any since to give the passenger a ticket for something the driver did… Like the passenger, these children didn’t have any control.”
The tuition equality bill would only give access to in-state tuition to those undocumented Tennessee residents who qualify.
According to Crystal Brinkley, president of the College Democrats, the bill will affect three groups of people: students that graduate from Tennessee high schools, students who have lived in Tennessee for a minimum of three years and students who qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
DACA is an immigration policy that allows some immigrants to remain in the country for two years if they were in the U.S. before their 16th birthday.
Currently, students who are protected from deportation by DACA have to pay out of state tuition to attend a public TN school.
The tuition equality bill is not unique to Tennessee. Several states have already passed similar legislation.
Former Student Government Association Sen. Jay Alvarez said Tennessee should join the 22 states who have already passed this legislation.
Voting for this legislation will take place in April 2016.