Kellogg Community College President Dennis Bona joined community members and representatives from the community organizations Voces and JONAH in the college’s Spring Lake Room this afternoon for the unveiling of a video specially made to thank Dr. Bona and the KCC Board of Trustees for the recent decision to offer in-district tuition to all district residents regardless of immigration status.
Around 50 people gathered to celebrate the college’s decision and view the video, which was unveiled publicly during the event.
In remarks preceding the showing of the video, Kate Flores, executive director of Voces, called the college’s tuition policy change a “historic and even life-changing decision to change the narrative,” effectively cutting the cost of tuition for undocumented students in half.
The Rev. Brian Coleman, president of JONAH, called the decision a “welcome relief to those who already face economic hardship” and “a move toward economic justice and a move towards God’s will” for the community.
Jeannie Miralrio, president of the Voces Board of Directors, became emotional when speaking about the impact of the decision on the community.
“This change in policy will have a far-reaching positive impact on so many of our community members,” Miralrio said, calling the decision a “tool to motivate students from elementary through high school” to pursue an education.
The crowd remained mostly silent during the presentation of the nearly 10-minute video, posted above, which features several community leaders, students and community members voicing their support for KCC’s tuition policy change and thanking KCC for the decision.
“It was a very simple decision for us here at KCC,” Bona said after viewing the video. “We’re here to serve the community, and you all are part of our community.”
Bona praised the college’s Board of Directors, which passed the policy change unanimously and without debate during a board meeting in January, and said college presidents from around the state have contacted him while considering similar changes to their own tuition policies.