By Christopher Baxter/The Star-Ledger

TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie today signed landmark legislation granting thousands of students who grew up in New Jersey but are in the country illegally the benefit of in-state tuition rates at all public colleges and universities.

Christie’s signature marks the end of a public tug-of-war over the measure, deemed the “Dream Act”, which was pared down in its final days in order for Democrats to gain the governor’s approval. Both sides hailed the compromise as a historic achievement.

A spokesman for Christie, Colin Reed, said in a statement “the governor signed the legislation privately earlier today, and there will be a public ceremony to follow in the weeks ahead.” He said a date and time for the ceremony has not yet been set.

The new law allows unauthorized immigrants who graduated high school in New Jersey after attending that school for at least three years to be eligible for the lower in-state rates at state college and universities, including in-county rates at community colleges.

The Legislature on Thursday sent Christie a version of the bill that would also have made immigrant students eligible for state financial aid programs, including tuition aid grants. Christie then conditionally vetoed the bill to remove that provision and sent it back to the Senate and Assembly, which both promptly agreed to the change.


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