Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, pictured at left, has instructed the state’s public colleges and universities to give in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants under deferred deportation. (Photo: Sarah Gordon/Governor Deval Patrick’s Office)

Massachusetts governor: eligible Dreamers can pay lower, in-state tuition

BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick has instructed state colleges and universities to allow some undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates to attend state colleges and universities.

In a letter sent Monday to the Board of Higher Education, Patrick said immigrants who obtain a work permit through a new federal program instituted by President Barack Obama would be eligible to pay the lower rates. Those rates cut in half the annual tuition to attend the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, for instance.

The governor told reporters the directive is in line with an existing state policy that allows people with work permits and valid Massachusetts residency to qualify for in-state tuition. But he said it was only a first step toward comprehensive immigration reform.

It wasn’t immediately known how many immigrants might benefit from the Massachusetts program.

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