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Minnesota Policy

Updated As Of: March 20, 2017

Minnesota offers in-state tuition and state financial aid to undocumented students through the MN Dream Act. For students who do not qualify, over two dozen colleges and universities offer in-state tuition to all students, regardless of status, residence, or MN Dream Act eligibility. The MN Dream Act application form is available here. Students must have attended a high school in the state for at least 3 years, graduated from a Minnesota high school or earned a GED, and registered with the U.S. Selective Service (males 18 to 25 years old). 
  • SF 3027, which would have allowed undocumented students to receive in-state tuition, was introduced in 2002 but failed to pass.
  • In 2013, the Minnesota Dream Act (also known as the Prosperity Act) was signed into law as part of the higher education bill SF 1236, extending in-state tuition and financial aid eligibility to undocumented students.
  • In 2016, SF 3353 and HF 3562 were introduced. If passed, they would not count semesters in which a student was not eligible for a grant due to immigration status towards the eight semester limit for receiving grants in undergraduate study. SF 3353 was referred to the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee and HF 3562 was referred to the Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee in March 2016.
  • SF 1110 and HF 1576, introduced in February 2017, would make Minnesota a sanctuary state for immigration enforcement purposes if passed.

Federal law has been unsuccessful at addressing comprehensive access to postsecondary education for undocumented students. Despite efforts to pass the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform, Congress has not addressed the current ambiguous language in IIRIRA regarding undocumented students' eligibility for educational benefits (i.e. in-state tuition and state-funded financial aid programs). Therefore, much of the policy activity regarding postsecondary access for undocumented students has shifted to state and system levels. As a result, state policymakers and higher education institutions take varied approaches to either broadening or restricting access to postsecondary education and educational benefits. Others states have yet to take formal action on this issue, leaving the decision to individual campus leaders.

Under the provisions of this ambiguous policy context, undocumented youth encounter contentious environments with policies that range from inclusive, restrictive, or unstipulated stances.

Inclusive: States with policies that explicitly grant in-state tuition and/or eligibility for public financial aid for undocumented students.

Restrictive: States with policies that explicitly deny eligibility for admission and/or in-state tuition for undocumented students.

Unstipulated: States that do not have stated policies that explicitly address undocumented student access to postsecondary education.

State and system policies are volatile and continuously changing. For the latest, please visit the uLEAD NewsdeskFor information specific to individual state context, click in the subheadings below.

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