TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Students at New Jersey public colleges who are in the United States illegally will get an immediate tuition break after Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill Friday allowing them to pay in-state tuition rates.

The bill, which had become a political complication for the Republican governor and possible presidential candidate in 2016, was the result of a deal reached Thursday.

As part of the pact, lawmakers agreed to drop a provision that would have also made the students eligible for state financial aid if they qualified under income guidelines. Christie had resisted going that far, saying it would be costly for the state and also make New Jersey a magnet for students in the country illegally but living in other states.

The Democrat-controlled Legislature acquiesced to Christie's position and passed a new version of the bill Thursday.

By agreeing when they did, lawmakers gave up something they wanted but managed to get the new tuition rates put in effect for the semester that begins next month at most state colleges and universities.

Until now, foreign-born students who are not citizens have paid the more expensive out-of-state tuition rate.

The difference is significant. At Rutgers, the state's flagship public university, the in-state tuition is $10,700 annually — $14,000 less than the out-of-state cost. Full-time students also pay nearly $3,000 in fees, and room and board are extra.

At least a dozen states have similar laws, including Texas and California, the two states with larger foreign-born populations than New Jersey.

Christie came out in support of the bill, often called the Dream Act, during his re-election campaign after previously objecting because of its cost, but not the principle of equality for students.

The governor won re-election by 22 points and got the support of half the state's Hispanic voters.

But after the election, he objected to the specific version of the bill that was working its way through the Legislature. He said he would not sign a bill with the financial aid provision.

Some critics accused him of changing positions for the sake of his re-election and then switching back.

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  • "It's Not My Time" (3 Doors Down)

    <strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/04/chris-christie-2012-decision-_n_993910.html" target="_hplink">(Oct. 4, 2011) --</a></strong> Christie announced that he will not run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, vowing that "now is not my time." He quipped to New Jersey residents "whether you like it or not, you're stuck with me."

  • "Need You Now" (Lady Antebellum)

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/11/chris-christie-mitt-romney_n_1005601.html" target="_hplink"><strong>LEBANON, N.H. (Oct. 11, 2011) --</strong></a> After dismissing calls to run for president himself, Christie endorsed Romney, telling the GOP that he is the candidate we need now.

  • "How Do I Live" (LeAnn Rimes)

    <strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/07/chris-christie-town-hall_n_1133756.html" target="_hplink">WEST NEW YORK, N.J. (Dec. 7, 2011) --</a></strong> At a local town hall, Christie did not take kindly to a <a href="http://videos.nj.com/star-ledger/2011/12/video_chris_christie_asked_if.html" target="_hplink">constituent's question</a> about how his administration conducts these types of meetings. He showed the individual little mercy, going "if I plant questions, why the hell did I call on you?"

  • "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" (Elton John)

    <strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/08/chris-christie-mic-checked-occupy-wall-street_n_1136762.html" target="_hplink">(Dec. 8, 2011) --</a></strong> Occupy Wall Street protesters interrupted Christie during an appearance in Iowa, making him a target of the movement's "mic check" trend.

  • "Shut Up" (The Black Eyed Peas)

    <strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/22/chris-christie-warren-buffett_n_1294579.html" target="_hplink">(Feb. 21, 2012) --</a></strong> In an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan, Christie had some choice words for Warren Buffett, surrounding the billionaire investor's desire to be taxed at a higher rate. "Just write a check and shut up," he remarked.

  • "American Idiot" (Green Day)

    <strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/09/christie-argues-with-veteran_n_1334963.html" target="_hplink">(March 9, 2012) --</a></strong> Christie argued with a former Navy SEAL over the New Jersey's plans to reconfigure public universities. The result? Some fire from the governor's tongue, as he called the veteran an "idiot."

  • "Call Me Maybe" (Carly Rae Jepsen)

    <strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/13/chris-christie-talks-vp-p_n_1423271.html" target="_hplink">(April 13, 2012) --</a></strong> Throughout Mitt Romney's run for the White House, Christie made it known that he was open to a vice presidential nod (should Romney ask him).

  • "Rocky Ground" (Bruce Springsteen)

    <strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/19/chris-christie-sleeping-bruce-springsteen-_n_1438337.html" target="_hplink">(April 19, 2012) --</a></strong> Christie vehemently denied reports that he was sleeping at a Bruce Springsteen concert in New York City. <em><strong>

  • "I Don't Really Care" (Waka Flocka Flame)

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/30/chris-christie-jimmy-kimmel_n_1465608.html" target="_hplink">(April 30, 2012) --</a> Christie responded to jokes comedian Jimmy Kimmel made about his weight at the 2012 White House Correspondents Dinner, throwing Sofia Vergara into the mix. "I figured I was in the zone of danger," he said.

  • "Ready Or Not" (The Fugees)

    <strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/14/chris-christie-gop-keynote-convention_n_1774525.html" target="_hplink">(Aug. 14, 2012) --</a></strong> After entertaining the idea of running for president and making Mitt Romney's short list of VP candidates, Christie was named the keynote speaker at the 2012 Republican National Convention. "I'll try to tell some very direct and hard truths to people in the country about the trouble that we're in and the fact that fixing those problems is not going to be easy for any of them," he told <em>USA Today</em>.