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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  WA Government

Bill would allow Washington to offer undocumented students college loans

UPDATED: Wed., Feb. 19, 2020

Daisy Zavala

OLYMPIA – Undocumented students could apply for state loans to help pay for college under a bill being considered in the Senate.

“We have a group of students in this state who have great potential, those are students that are here under DACA,” said bill sponsor Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood.

Undocumented students don’t have the same tools as their peers in higher education. This poses a challenge to the goal set by the state to have 70% of residents have a higher education credential, he said.

Students under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status can apply for state financial aid programs like the Washington College Grant and the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship. But they are unable to apply for federal loans.

The Undocumented Student Support Loan Program would offer students low-interest loans. State money used for the program would have to match donations from the private sector and would be limited to $2 million per biennium, according to the bill.

Sen. Jeff Holy, R-Spokane, said he had reservations about a loan program for only one group of students: “Every time you do this you move the window of unavailability to higher education around in the economic spectrum.”

Liias said the bill would remove the hurdles to higher education for undocumented students and would allow the state to use all of its human potential to build a prosperous future.

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