Trustees from the County College of Morris voted to change the school’s admissions policy this week, overturning a provision that had barred undocumented immigrants from taking classes.
The board voted Wednesday to amend the provision, which had been passed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
A school spokeswoman said applicants who are undocumented immigrants will be allowed to enroll if they can prove they came to United States before age 16, have been living here for at least five years and graduated from an American high school or with an equivalency diploma, among other criteria.
Several of New Jersey’s community colleges allow undocumented immigrants to enroll, or do not ask immigration status on applications.
The presidents of more than half of the state’s 19 community colleges, in consultation with their boards of trustees, signed a letter in December urging New Jersey’s congressional delegation to help pass the DREAM Act. That’s federal legislation that would have allowed immigrants brought to the U.S. before the age of 16 the chance to legalize their status by completing at least two years of college or military service if they satisfied certain criteria.
The bill, which did not pass, would also have granted states the power to decide whether to allow students covered by the DREAM Act to pay in-state tuition rates.