Will immigrant students in the class of 2016 be able to go to college this fall?
This morning, dozens of students donned in caps and gowns sent a strong message to members of the House and Governor Haslam to support HB765 before the session adjoins. After asking members of the House whether or not they would take another step towards the Drive to 55, students visited the Governor's office and asked him to be a champion for the bill, which so clearly aligns with his legislative priorities.
There are hundred of graduating seniors in the class of 2016 that will not go to college if HB675 does not move forward by the end of the session. After the bill failed to pass last year by just one vote, graduates from the class of 2015 anxiously await a vote on HB675, in hopes they might be able to enroll in college this fall.
Despite passing the Senate 21-12 and gaining a majority in the House 49-47, having a positive fiscal note, and earning broad support from the Tennessee Farm Bureau, the Tennessee Board of Regents, and several chambers of commerce, it remains unclear whether or not the bill will get a vote in the House this year. If the Haslam administration and the General Assembly are serious about their Drive to 55 goals, they should ensure swift passage of HB675 before the session adjoins. It is disappointing that rather than giving any consideration HB675 and making sure more students have access to college this fall, legislators instead are worrying about who can use what bathroom and if they can bring guns to campus.
Tennesseans will be watching to see if the legislature takes seriously it's responsibility to increase our college enrollment rates and whether or not they will allow the graduating class of 2016 to have greater access.