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Senate: No tuition break for illegal immigrants’ children

CONCORD — Students who entered the country illegally will not be eligible for in-state tuition rates at University System of New Hampshire schools after the Senate sent House Bill 474 to interim study with a 24-0 vote Wednesday.

In the second year of a two-year session, interim study is a polite death as the next legislature does not have to do anything with the bill.

Fifteen other states have passed similar statutes to bypass the federal law forbidding states from giving illegal immigrants state benefits.

Opponents argued the bill is unfair to out-of-state citizens and immigrants who wait years to enter the country legally.

But supporters say the children should not be punished for what their parents did.

Under the bill, the students would have had to meet all current requirements for in-state tuition and admission standards. They would have had to have lived in the state at least three years and have graduated from a state high school or a program to obtain a high school equivalency certificate.

An estimated 100 students would have been eligible for in-state tuition through the proposed legislation, although lawmakers said realistically about 15 students a year would be accepted under the proposed legislation.

The bill required the students to apply for legal residency or sign an affidavit that they will apply for legal residency as soon as they are eligible. Under a 2012 law, all students seeking in-state tuition must sign an affidavit that they are legal residents of the United States. A copy of the application for legal residency or the affidavit must be filed with the university system.

The House passed the bill on a 188-155 vote earlier this year.

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