Senate approves in-state tuition for immigrant students

Acquire DigitalNews

Cesar Bautista was born in Mexico City, but he’s lived in Rutherford County for the past 19 years.

The 26-year-old had to drop down to taking one class at a time from Volunteer State Community College because he couldn’t afford the tuition. But with a bill approved by the full Senate on Thursday, he’s optimistic he can become a full-time student once again and earn his degree in business administration.

“I am very happy; no words can really explain today. My heart is just racing. I just want to take deep breaths because I’m really happy and excited. I cannot believe this. It passed the full Senate floor,” Bautista said.

He is excited because senators approved a bill to allow undocumented immigrant students in Tennessee to pay in-state tuition rates at Tennessee colleges and universities.

The 21-12 vote is a significant push for advocates, who have fought for the change over the course of several years.

“A lot of times I sit around and think why am I in the state Senate,” said Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, in support of the bill.

“The reason I am here is to expand the American dream … the number one road to the American dream is education.”

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