University Readies for HB 1403 Inquiries from Students, Families

Texas A&M International University is readying for inquiries from students and their families regarding the recent passage of a new Texas law that allows undocumented immigrants to pay in-State tuition at State universities.

HB-1403, signed into law by Texas Governor Rick Perry this week, will be a dream-maker for many, said A&M International president Dr. Charles Jennett.

"While this law is new and we're all studying it carefully, it's clear that the social ramifications mean that many more students will have a chance to complete their dream of a higher education. This law is an endorsement of the importance of higher education for all people, and we are ready to welcome these students to our campus, " Dr. Jennett said.

He said the University has set up a bilingual dedicated phone line, 956.326.2442, that students or their parents can call for additional information. After office hours, a recorded message will provide information.

"We realize that there will be tremendous interest in this law and it's impact and want to be able to offer as much assistance as possible for those individuals for whom the law will apply," he said.

The law applies to immigrants who have lived in Texas at least three years and who earn a GED or graduate from a public or private high school in Texas and are first-time University students. These individuals must sign an affidavit stating that they will apply for permanent resident status when they are eligible.

Mary Trevino, associate vice president for student services, said the University expects that a large number of potential students may come forward based on the law's passage.

"Laredo is a rapidly growing community with a thriving immigrant population. We believe that many students and their parents will want to seize this opportunity to better themselves and eventually secure permanent resident status," she said.

Trevino said the University will also launch outreach efforts in the community to spread the word about the law's passage and the University's ability to answer questions regarding it.

"We know that there will initially be a number of questions for which there may not be immediate answers, but State agencies like the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board are working diligently to interpret the law and we are in close contact with them. We expect that the majority of this work will be done well in advance of the start of our Fall Semester in late August," she said.

For additional information, contact Maria R. Rosillo at 956.326.2442, visit offices located in Killam Library 168 or email to adms@tamiu..edu.

University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.


Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu