To the Editor:
I write this public letter to thank the RI Board of Governors for Higher Education for the important vote that they made on September 26, which will now allow qualified undocumented students to enroll in Rhode Island colleges and universities and pay the in-state rate. Their vote is a courageous, honorable commitment to the mission of the RIBOG: to provide an excellent, efficient, accessible and affordable system of higher education designed to improve the overall educational attainment of Rhode Islanders and thereby enrich the intellectual, economic, social and cultural life of the state, its residents, and its communities.
We commend each of them for their favorable vote and continued commitment to excellence and equality.
Their vote to change the RI tuition policy makes possible a brighter future for our children and our community by creating opportunities for our youth that will strengthen our state. Students that would benefit from this policy change have very little resources and limited options. Access to CCRI, RIC and URI will allow our youth to continue the educational path they had started as they and their families continue pursuing a path to citizenship.
Moreover, this new policy is also good for economic development of Rhode Island. Our state would benefit greatly from college graduates who are bilingual and bicultural. Every year, our state schools of higher education graduate professionals who will enter industries in Rhode Island that are experiencing shortages. With this new policy, we help undocumented youth, a vital part of the fabric of Rhode Island, to achieve their dreams and become productive adult members of the community.
When access to educational opportunities increase, we all benefit. Thank you, RI Board of Governors, for providing all of our young people with hope for the future and a chance at education, for strengthening our community with an inclusive policy, and for helping to make a brighter our state and for everyone.
Marta V. Martinez