Imagine you're contemplating immigrating your family to New Jersey. If you take the proper path to citizenship, you will pay full price for college with no financial aid. Yet if you take the illegal path, you can get both the in state price and state help with the cost.

Governor Murphy's latest laws granting not only the instate rate for illegal immigrants but financial aid as well is not going over well with those who came to this country and are taking the legal path to citizenship. Many made their feelings known on my show Wednesday night. Here is a letter I received:

Hey guys,

I would appreciate if my email can be read when you speak about the bill signed by Gov. Murphy extending education aid to illegal immigrants.

NJ is one of the few states that discriminates legal residents. Several states like NY, CA, FL, OH, NC, etc. treat legal immigrants (on H4 visa) who reside in their respective states as in-state residents if they have been residing in the state for at least one year. NJ does not treat us as in-state residents and we are forced to pay out of state / international tuition fees to get our kids admitted to State colleges. Our kids are also legal in the state and staying for several years. We pay all taxes and contribute towards the economy but get treated as third class citizens and pay more than double the tuition fees.

As an example (from Rutgers' web site), an in state student studying at Newark campus pays $11,619 as compared to $27,560 paid by a legal immigrant, a whooping 116.19% more than what an in-state student pays.

If the Governor can extend education credit to illegal immigrants, he needs to treat legal immigrants fair and not discriminate us. The least we expect is to treat our kids as in-state students.

Please let me know if you want me to dial in and speak on your show, I shall gladly do.

Regards,
Suresh

I asked our news department to research this and here's what they found

Before the new law, these were the eligibility requirements:

  • Have a high school diploma or recognized equivalent
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen
  • Be a legal resident of New Jersey for at least 12 consecutive months immediately prior to enrollment (NOTE: Eligible non-citizens must reside in New Jersey for 12 consecutive months after receiving permanent resident status from USCIS to meet the State residency requirement.)
  • Be registered with Selective Service (if required)
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress
  • Be a full-time undergraduate student enrolled in an approved degree or certificate program
  • Not have a baccalaureate degree, or an associate degree if enrolled at a two-year college
  • Not have received the maximum allowable number of grant payments
  • Not be in default on a Federal or State student loan
  • Not owe a refund on a Federal or State grant
  • Not be enrolled in a program leading to a degree in theology or divinity

New Jersey grants and scholarships are limited to U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens who have received approval from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to remain in the U.S. on a permanent basis. Students in the U.S. on a temporary basis - who do not have approved permanent resident status from USCIS - are not eligible to receive an award.

The rate for college tuition and financial aid as well. Otherwise, it may actually be better to sneak into New Jersey than to do it right.

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