Maryland is the first state to put a version of the DREAM Act on the ballot and a recent poll shows that the measure enjoys wide support. The proposed bill, which would allow undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities, has the support of 59% of likely voters, according to a recent Washington Post poll.
While 13 states have already adopted similar measures and others are considering it, Maryland is the first state where voters have had a chance to decide the issue. The bill was originally passed in the Maryland legislature; however opponents were able to gather enough signatures to bring it to referendum.
The in-state tuition bill, as it is also known, severely limits eligibility by requiring that students must have attended a Maryland high school for at least three years, graduated from a Maryland high school, and prove that his or her family has filed state income taxes for three years. Once the eligibility burden is satisfied the student is only eligible for in-state tuition rates at a community college.
Under the terms of the bill, for an undocumented immigrant to receive in-state tuition at one of Maryland‘s four-year universities he or she must first complete at least 60 credit hours at a community college. Despite the strict requirements, the bill enjoys broad based support throughout the Chesapeake Bay State.
The Post found that 75% of Democrats and 58% of independent voters support the measure. While Republicans oppose the bill by roughly a 2-to-1 margin, according to the Baltimore Sun there is no true opposition campaign.
According to a study from the Maryland Institute for Policy Analysis and Research, if the bill passes it is expected to impact approximately 430 students in each freshman class.
Follow Alex Wukman on Twitter: @AlexWUkmanCMN