Coming up! Affordable education for H-1B visa holders’ children

Amidst stringent immigration laws and scrutiny under the Trump administration, the US state of New Jersey will enact a legislation that will make college and universities more affordable for the children of H-1B visa holders.

A majority of H-1B visa holders are Indians, mostly IT professionals.

Governor Phil Murphy signed the S2555 legislation, allowing New Jersey students, who are children of H-1B visa holders, to qualify for in-state tuition at public institutions of higher education.

“Today I signed a bill to allow New Jersey students who are children of H-1B visa holders to qualify for in-state tuition. I’m proud to help our students achieve their education goals and live their dreams here in their home state,” Murphy wrote on his twitter handle.

S2555 exempts dependent students whose parents or guardians hold H-1B visas from paying out-of-state tuition provided they meet certain criteria, including having graduated from a New Jersey high school and having attended a New Jersey high school for at least three years.

India’s Deputy Consul General in New York Shatru Sinha welcomed the legislation, saying in a tweet that it is an “important initiative for the Indian community”.

While school education from kindergarten to grade 12 is free in American public schools, non-citizens and immigrant children have to pay exorbitant fees to study in colleges and universities, adding years-long student debts to their finances.

“We applaud the enactment of this legislation, which will make college more affordable for talented students who attended a New Jersey high school for at least three years and graduated, by enabling them to enroll in a New Jersey public college or university at the same in-state tuition rate that is charged to their classmates,” said David Socolow, Executive Director of the NJ Higher Education Student Assistance Authority.

Primary sponsors of the legislation include Senators Vin Gopal and M. Teresa Ruiz, and Assembly members Raj Mukherji, Daniel Benson, and Robert Karabinchak.

“When someone comes to New Jersey on an H-1B visa, they’re bringing their own unique expertise, intellect, and insight to the challenges and opportunities our state faces,” said Senator Gopal.

“But when we deny their children the opportunity to access an affordable college education right here at home, we’re shutting the door on a whole new generation of brilliance and talent. When we make higher education more affordable for these kids, we’re supporting their academic pursuits while encouraging them to cultivate and apply their skills right here in the Garden State.”

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows the US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.

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