Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Announcing the PCACAC E-List

Announcing the PCACAC E-List

The PCACAC e-list is a tool that allows active members to engage in conversations related to higher education. More than one conversation can occur at a time, and all conversations are archived in the ‘Member Directory’ area of the PCACAC website (accessed via login).

Not only can individuals engage one another in conversation, each individual conversation transcript can be accessed or referred to at a later date, allowing new members to the conversation.

To join the e-list

If you’re an active PCACAC member, you’re part of the e-list! To ensure that you’re part of the conversation, make sure your e-mail notifications are set to ‘ON.’ (see ‘To receive e-mail notifications from the e-list’)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Government Relations Committee News and Updates

Contributed by Jayne Fonash, Government Relations Committee Chair

The first in a series of advocacy events scheduled for the 2014 state legislative sessions took place on Monday February 3 when PCACAC-on-the-Hill Richmond hosted a breakfast meet-and-greet from 9:30 to 11:30 in the 7th Floor West Conference Room in the GAB (General Assembly Building) in Richmond.  The primary purpose was for PCACAC members connect with members of the VA legislature to discuss issues concerning access and funding for post-high school education. Acting as the voice for students who have none, were joined by students advocating for several pieces of legislation under consideration during the 2014 session.  

Of particular importance is HB 747: Tuition, in-state, student eligibility, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which has been referred to the Committee on Appropriations.  Virginia students who have been granted Deferred Action by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are currently charged the out-of-state tuition rate at Virginia Public Colleges and Universities. Tuition Equity creates access to in-state tuition for these documented Virginia students who meet strict requirements, including attending a Virginia public or private high school for three years and showing three years of Virginia income taxes. 
The Migration Policy Institute estimates that in Virginia, there are approximately 30,000 undocumented immigrant young adults and children who currently are, or in the future will be, eligible for deferred action under DACA.  As of September 2013, USCIS reports that 9,029 individuals have applied for DACA from Virginia, of which 7,083 were approved. Currently only 5-10% of undocumented youth pursue higher education compared to 75% of their classmates.  Seventeen states currently have provisions allowing for in-state tuition rates for undocumented students. 

According to the fiscal impact statement for this legislation from the 2013 Virginia General Assembly Session, “little or no fiscal impact is anticipated.”  States that have passed Tuition Equity laws did not experience a large influx of new immigrant students who displaced native-born students nor did they experience added financial burdens to their education systems.

In strictly economic terms, Virginia has already invested millions of dollars into the education of these undocumented children; for the estimated 1,400 undocumented students that graduated from VA high schools in 2013, we have spent $15.3 million in 2013 alone and approximately $198.9 million over 13 years to educate these children.  To nurture and educate these students from elementary to high school only to turn them away when they reach higher education is not only a waste of money, but also great talent and potential. Education quickly pays for itself. It is a benefit to society, not just to those who go to school.

The PCACAC GRC strongly encourages members of PCACAC to become self-advocates by obtaining information about their rights and responsibilities and by contacting their legislators through letters, phone calls, and e-mails. 
·         Support the Virginia Tuition Equity Act by signing a petition on Del. Alfonso Lopez’s website athttp://www.alfonsolopez.org/dreamactnow.
·         Contact your elected representatives in Richmond and express your support of this legislation through the Action Alert on the PCACAC website at http://www.pcacac.org/government-relations-committee . Tuesday, February 11 Cross-over, the last day for each house to act on its own legislation.  Your voice is crucial at this point – the bill needs to come out of the Appropriations onto the House floor prior to the crossover. 
·         Our colleagues from the Virginia private colleges and universities were also “on the Hill” on February 3rd to support the Virginia TAG grant.  Contact your elected representatives in Richmond and express your support of this important funding for Virginia students.