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Ten Years In The Making, Colorado ASSET Becomes Law

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Nathan Heffel

Governor Hickenlooper signed the Colorado ASSET bill into law Monday, surrounded by students and civic and government leaders.

The signing ceremony marked the end of a ten year journey through the Colorado legislature. The bill allows those living in the country illegally to attend college with in-state tuition.

According to the Higher Education Access Alliance, to qualify, students must attend a Colorado high school for at least 3 years ‘immediately preceding graduation.’ The student must also provided documents showing ‘they have applied for lawful presence or will apply as soon as they are able.’

University of Colorado Boulder student Marco Durado says the new law will allow him to continue his education. “Although it took 10 years to finally pass this bill,” said Durado,“I find comfort in knowing that no longer will Colorado students face the hopelessness that comes with realizing they cannot afford to fulfill their dreams.”

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Credit Nathan Heffel / KUNC
Supporters of Colorado ASSET celebrate the bill signing with cake outside Metropolitan State University of Denver's Student Success building.

In thanking students gathered at the ceremony, Governor Hickenlooper linked the newly signed law to the larger national immigration movement. “We’re opening the door. You guys have to do all the work. That’s the way the system works,” said Hickenlooper.

“So we’re going to get you into class, and give you the opportunity, and your hard work is going to complete the transaction. This first step is going to be the first step to national immigration reform.”

13 states already allow in-state tuition for students living in the country illegally. A similar proposal was signed into law in Oregon this month.

The 2013 ASSET bill passed out of the state legislature on March 8. Three Republicans sided with Democrats passing the bill 40-21.

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