DENVER (AP) – A Colorado proposal to provide in-state tuition to many Native Americans is advancing the state legislature.

The measure passed its first committee test in the House Wednesday on a 9-4 vote. The bill would grant in-state tuition to any Native American student in Colorado whose tribe has a historical connection to the state.

Democratic Rep. Joe Salazar of Thornton says the goal of the proposal is to make higher education more accessible to Native Americans who face “severe economic hardships.”

Legislative fiscal analysts estimate the change would cost the state about $668,100 annually. They also estimate that it would generate about $5.3 million in tuition revenue for the state.

Fort Lewis College already provides free tuition to any Native American.

The bill heads to another committee for a vote.

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