House committee moves to protect aid to DACA students

Want DACA students to finish degrees

— On a bipartisan vote, the House Higher Education committee moved legislation forward yesterday that would protect state financial aid eligibility for undocumented students.

In particular, House Bill 1488 would protect Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals recipients from losing College Bound state financial aid if the program is eliminated at the federal level, as the Trump Administration has threatened.

“We can do something right here in Washington state to make sure these students don’t lose their financial aid and college affordability benefits – even if DACA is eliminated,” said Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island, who sponsored HB 1488.

Hansen also chairs the Higher Education committee.

Earlier this month, advocates for the bill joined Hansen for a press conference at which a current and former DACA students shared their stories.

Also speaking at the event was Michael Schutzler, CEO of the Washington Technology Innovation Association, a coalition of nearly 1,000 tech companies across the state.

Schutzler said the tech industry stands in solidarity with students protected under Deferred Action, known as “Dreamers.”

“Our state is creating jobs ten times faster than the state produces talent for those industries. The last thing we need is people dropping out of college because they can’t afford it anymore,” Schutzler said.

The action taken by the Higher Education committee moves HB 1488 closer to passage by the full House.

“I look forward to getting this bill to the governor’s desk, so our undocumented students don’t have to lose their financial aid and drop out of college.  We want all our students – documented or undocumented — to stay in college, finish their degrees,” Schutzler said.


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