Access to an affordable college education for all of Tennessee’s students is key to securing the future economic prosperity of our state. Today, the Tennessee State Legislature failed to advance a bill that would have broken down the barrier that so many undocumented students face in their decision to go to college — paying out-of-state tuition rates no matter how long they’ve called Tennessee home. The measure, supported by Governor Bill Haslam and countless higher education officials, would have given undocumented students a chance to attend college and pay the same price as the peers they graduated with.

“Today we had the difficult task of letting students in our Escalera college prep program know that the state they’ve lived in for most of their lives has yet again denied them an opportunity for equal access to higher education,” said Karla Coleman Garcia, Conexión Américas’ Policy Manager.

Without equal access, Tennessee loses thousands of promising students who are ready to contribute in fields like medicine, engineering and education, and will fall short of its Drive to 55 goal.

Thank you to the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition for spearheading the Tuition Opportunity campaign and empowering hundreds of students to become civically engaged. We will keep advocating for all Tennesseans’ right to an affordable education.