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WA Lege Day 19: College aid bills pass

OLYMPIA — In a display of almost blinding speed, the Senate could vote today on a bill to expand some college aid to students who are longtime residents but not citizens.

Generally known as the Dream Act, it was a hot topic last year, passing in the House but languishing in the Senate. Yesterday, the predominantly Republican majority that runs the Senate announced it had a new bill on the topic, which expanded the financial aid programs AND promised an extra $5 million, making it more than just a promise. The Associated Press story with full details can be found inside the blog.

Sen. Barbara Bailey, chairwoman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, said that bill, and another guaranteeing veterans in-state tuition rates at Washington public colleges, could come to a vote as early as today.

UPDATE: The Senate passed both bills. Giving in-state tuition to vets passed unanimously. Expanding the state need grants to students who have lived in the state at least three years and would qualify except for their immigration status passed 35-10.

Elsewhere, there are lots of military uniforms on display because it is National Guard Day. And lots of Seahawks attire because of something happening Sunday.


WA Lege Day 23: Fight ahead over immigration?

OLYMPIA — Add immigration to the list of issues that could provoke a heated argument in this year's Legislature. Two mutually exclusive proposals involving undocumented students in the state's colleges will be in the Senate.

Young adults who came to the United States with their parents as young children and were raised and educated in this country would be eligible for some state college aid under a proposal announced Tuesday by Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle.

What's being dubbed the Washington State DREAM Act would open up the State Need Grant and College Bound Scholarship programs to high school students who are undocument residents. Those programs already have long waiting lines; the State Need Grant last year had 32,000 applicants who couldn't get aid because the program ran out of money. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.