TRENTON - The Assembly Budget Committee has approved a bill that would allow immigrants who are in the country illegally to qualify for in-state tuition rates at state colleges and universities.

To be eligible, a student must have attended a New Jersey high school for at least three years and have either a diploma from a state high school or the equivalent. They also must submit an affidavit stating they have filed or will file an application to legalize their status as soon as they are eligible.

Supporters of the measure came to the state Capitol Monday. Zyania Zavala says she hopes lower tuition would allow her to attend college in the fall. "I'm trying to do something with my future, something worthwhile," she says.

Opponents of the bill believe there is much more to be done to help students who are here legally before concessions are made for undocumented immigrants.

If the bill is passed and signed by the governor, it would take effect beginning in the fall semester.