I’m so proud to live in a state like Washington that has been a leader in providing opportunities for immigrants. Undocumented students want to pursue the same opportunities, and we want to help the state meet the degree attainment goals we’ve set for ourselves. Lawmakers have worked to remove many of the barriers that stand in their way.

Washington passed HB 1079 in 2003, which allows undocumented Washington residents to attend college at the lower in-state tuition rates.

In 2014, the Legislature enacted the Washington State Dream Act, opening the doors to a college education for thousands of undocumented Washington state students by making them eligible for state financial aid. Undocumented students are typically not eligible for federal student financial aid. That policy was further cemented with Dream Act 2.0 in 2018, which guarantees state financial aid eligibility even if the DACA program is removed at the federal level.

To expand on those efforts to make college more accessible and affordable, this year we passed a law that creates a new state financial aid program for undocumented students.

SB 6561 created a state-funded, state-administered student loan program to help undocumented students who are ineligible for federal financial aid programs that cover the full cost of a degree.

The new law bridges the gap between undocumented residents who are eligible for in-state tuition rates but are currently not eligible for financial aid resources that are available to other students.

It is one more tool we can use to expand opportunities to succeed to more students across the state.

Watch my Senate floor speech in support of SB 6561 below.