GEORGIA HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS CONDEMNS PASSAGE OF H.B. 37

GEORGIA HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS CONDEMNS PASSAGE OF H.B. 37

Bill Would Remove Student Funding From Private Colleges that do not Disclose Students’ Immigration Status

ATLANTA, GA – The Georgia House Democratic Caucus opposes House Bill 37, which passed the Georgia House 112-57 this afternoon. This legislation would strip all state funding from Georgia students who attend a private postsecondary institution that has been accused of adopting a sanctuary policy and has not complied with federal immigration laws. State postsecondary funding for Georgia’s private colleges and universities includes HOPE scholarships, Zell Miller scholarships and tuition equalization grants.

There are currently 35 TEG-eligible private institutions. Over $36,835,932 in HOPE scholarship money to 10,659 recipients and $8,272,500 in Zell Miller scholarship money to 1,900 recipients was awarded to private postsecondary students in 2015-16, according to the Georgia Student Finance Commission. Nearly $22 million in tuition equalization grants was disbursed as well.

“H.B. 37 will only send a message to college students from around the world that they are not welcome here,” said Representative David Dreyer. “We are passing a bill that doesn’t solve an imminent problem, deprives Georgia students of due process protections, and lets the state unilaterally decide if a college is in violation of state law. Down the road, this law could discourage businesses from investing in our communities, and harm our thriving economy.”

“Financial aid is not something to be toyed with. It is the lifeline to college for those without means. HB 37 threats to yank financial aid dollars from Georgia citizen students because of actions of a college administrator on behalf of undocumented students,” said Representative Stacey Evans. “The actions are those of the administrator, but the punishment falls to Georgia students. That’s just wrong.”

“I am troubled by legislation that would single out immigrant communities, and punish all students who attend a private college or university – regardless of their immigration status,” said Representative Brenda Lopez. “Withholding funding from students based on the decisions of their administration is a due process violation, and an attempt at legislating federal immigration law under the guise of education policy.”