OLYMPIA, Wash. -

Leaders in the Washington state Senate have introduced their own version of a measure that expands college financial aid for students who are illegally in the country.

Senate Bill 6523 was introduced Thursday by Republican Sens. Barbara Bailey, Joe Fain, Andy Hill, Steve Litzow, Bruce Dammeier and Majority Leader Rodney Tom, the Democratic leader of the predominantly-Republican Majority Coalition Caucus.

The measure, called the "Real Hope Act" is very similar to a measure that passed out of the House, the so-called Washington Dream Act, on a bipartisan vote on the first day of the legislative session that began earlier this month. It expands state financial aid for college students in the country without legal status.

Tom initially had said that the measure wouldn't gain traction in the Senate because his caucus had other priorities.