TRENTON, N.J. — A legislative proposal allowing illegal immigrant students to pay the cheaper in-state rate to attend state colleges and universities gets a hearing on Thursday.

A similar proposal was advanced by an Assembly committee in June.

There's already speculation over whether Republican Gov. Chris Christie would sign it, though neither house has scheduled final votes.

Christie, a likely presidential candidate in 2016, seemed to soften his opposition to the bill in a pre-re-election speech before a prominent Latino group.

After the election, he stipulated that the bill would have to be fiscally responsible and include the "dreams of everybody."

Opponents say the bill rewards lawbreakers. Proponents argue that these students can make contributions if allowed to continue their studies.

In-state tuition has been granted to similar students in 12 states.