150 students to lobby in Madison for tuition equity bill

Wisconsin Gazette

About 150 students with Youth Empowered in the Struggle, the youth arm of Voces de la Frontera, will gather at the Capitol in Madison today (March 18) to lobby lawmakers. They’ll be urging passage of a bill to allow undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition.

The legislation, introduced by state Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, would allow in-state tuition for undocumented students under three conditions:

• Graduation from high school or received a declaration of equivalency in Wisconsin

• Residing in the state for at least three years after attending their first day of high school.

• Signing an affidavit saying they have filed or will file for permanent residency in the United States as soon as they are eligible to do so.

Undocumented students who attend a University of Wisconsin school or technical college must currently pay out-of-state tuition, which is two to three times the cost of in-state tuition.

Organizers of the lobbying day say students will meet with lawmakers in the morning and then march from the Capitol to rally at the Library Mall on the UW-Madison campus. 

Some students also will be in the Assembly Gallery when Zamarripa address tuition equity on the House floor. That’s expected to happen just before the march. 

José Trejo, a teacher at ALAS High School in Milwaukee, planned to participate in the events. “As a teacher, it is educational malpractice to tell students that education is their key to the American Dream, yet know full well that the access to this key does not exist for many of them,” he said in a news release. “In state tuition is essential if we are to live up to the ideals of the founding of this country.”

Terresita Becerra, a Reagan High School student honor student from Milwaukee, also planned to participate. “Marching and lobbying in Madison will be a turning point in my education,” she stated. “This affects me personally because I myself have to pay out of state tuition rates, even though I’ve studied in Wisconsin my entire life.”

Be there …

Who: Students from across Wisconsin involved with Youth Empowered in the Struggle calling on elected officials to support tuition equity for immigrant students.

What: March, rally and lobby day for tuition equity.

WHERE: Madison at the State Capitol in Madison to march to the Library Mall on the UW campus, where a rally will be held. 

When: About 2 p.m.