Godoy Olivieri, Ltd.-An immigration law firm
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Illinois grants tuition break, residency to undocumented students

When people leave their home countries to come to the Chicago area, they are usually seeking an opportunity to improve their lives. Unfortunately, finding access to opportunity is often rather difficult for undocumented immigrants. Many states do not allow this segment of the population to take advantage of lower in-state college tuition rates, since they cannot claim residency.

Illinois state policies, however, allows young undocumented immigrants to claim residency in our state. Without the policy in place, college expenses are often prohibitive. In this competitive economy, it is becoming harder and harder to find a well-paying job without having education beyond high school. As such, granting residency can open doors for those who are looking to work hard and succeed.

Most recently, Massachusetts officials announced that it would join a dozen other states that have already taken a position of "accommodation" for those who would like to attend college but can't afford it. Hearing that a number of states are moving in this direction is encouraging for young people who have lived in the United States for most of their lives and cannot claim residency.

Although the Illinois policy applies to those living in our state, the same type of protection is not necessarily offered on a national scale. The good news, however, is that that there are signals that there could be an upcoming shift in federal policy. This past June, the Obama Administration indicated that officials would not pursue deportation for people who were brought illegally into the United States as children.

Until federal officials make definite reforms, it may be best for Chicago residents to explore their legal options under existing laws and consider the security permanent residency can offer. Not only does residency remove the fear of deportation, but it may also make it easier to obtain state residency and, thus, pursue educational opportunities.

Source: The New York Times, "Immigrants to Pay Tuition at Rate Set for Residents," Richard Pérez-Peña, Nov. 19, 2012

  • Our firm has experience helping Illinois families sort through the complex process of establishing residency. To learn more about your options, please see our Chicago green card page.

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Godoy Olivieri, Ltd.-An immigration law firm

2021 Midwest Road
Suite 200
Oak Brook, IL 60523
312-445-0591 local
800-264-2752 toll free
630-705-5258 fax
Map & Directions

1655 S. Blue Island Ave.
Suite 300
Chicago, IL. 60608
312-445-0591 local
800-264-2752 toll free
630-705-5258 fax
Map & Directions