Despite the uncertainty and apprehension that we are all facing with regard to the evolving coronavirus pandemic, I want to take a moment to share with you some important information. The tuition equity bill that passed the Virginia General Assembly just a few short weeks ago is potentially life-changing for undocumented students in Virginia. This bill will make in-state tuition accessible to Virginia high school graduates and it is a huge victory to ensure that immigration status won’t prevent ambitious young Virginians from accessing affordable, in-state tuition.
Below, you will find information about the expansion of in-state tuition in Virginia, which we hope can help students and their families as they make their final college decisions during the next few weeks. If you or your family are considering accessing in-state tuition this year, or if you know students who will now be able to access in-state tuition, please read, follow and/or share the following guidance:
Virginia Tuition Equity Bill Information
BACKGROUND: The In-State Tuition Equity Bill passed both the House (HB 1547) and Senate (SB 935) of Virginia’s General Assembly on February 27, 2020 and is currently scheduled to be signed by the Governor on April 11, 2020. The bill is set to take effect on July 1, 2020 and would allow all residents of Virginia to access in-state tuition at all 39 of Virginia’s public colleges and universities starting in Fall 2020.
WHO CAN ACCESS IN-STATE TUITION: All residents of Virginia will be able to access in-state tuition provided they can prove eligibility using the criteria below.
HOW DO YOU PROVE YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR IN-STATE TUITION:
- You graduated from a Virginia high school or completed your GED on or after July 1, 2008
- You or your parent/guardian has filed taxes in Virginia for at least two years prior to registration or enrollment.
- You are enrolling in a public college within the state of Virginia
HOW TO PREPARE TO ACCESS IN-STATE TUITION:
- You and/or your parent/guardian should file your 2019 taxes in Virginia. You can find a number of free or low-cost tax filing services through the State of Virginia here. PLEASE NOTE: Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the deadline to file and make payments for this year’s federal taxes has been extended to July 15, 2020. Virginia state taxes must still be filed by May 1, 2020. It may be wise to file earlier, however, in order to show as early as possible that taxes have been paid for both 2018 and 2019.
- If you and/or your parent/guardian haven’t filed your 2018 taxes in Virginia, it’s not too late! Learn more about filing your taxes late here.
- As you are deciding which college to attend, consider how in-state tuition will compare to the costs associated with attending a private college.
I know these are difficult times — if any Dream Scholars or their families experience an unexpected financial emergency which impacts their ability to pay school expenses, the Herman Loan Fund is available to help. You can find more information about the Herman Loan Fund here.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to the Dream Project at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or specific needs during the coming months.