UT: Bill Would Tighten In-State Tuition Law
The Associated Press State & Local Wire, February 4, 2009
A state lawmaker wants to make more strict a Utah law that allows undocumented high school graduates to qualify for resident tuition rates at public colleges and universities.
Rep. Richard Greenwood, R-Roy, isn't trying to repeal the 2002 in-state tuition law, but he wants to require students to sign an affidavit each semester saying they haven't worked in the U.S. during the calendar year.
The bill is modeled on an amendment introduced shortly before the end of last year's session.
Greenwood says he wants to make sure those students getting in-state tuition aren't breaking the law by working illegally in the U.S. by using fraudulent documents.
Community activist Michael Clara, though, says the bill creates roadblocks for students who are trying to get an education.
CO: In-State Tuition Bill Gets Support
Rocky Mountain News, January 30, 2009
A prominent Republican businessman has thrown his support behind a bill that would grant in-state college tuition to high school students regardless of their immigration status.
Dick Monfort, a Weld County cattleman and chairman of the University of Northern Colorado Board of Trustees, said tough economic times require a "forward-thinking" education policy.
"Opening educational opportunity for more of our high school graduates means our state will have a more developed work force down the road, and will be able to attract more high-growth industries," he said in a statement.
To be eligible for the reduced tuition, undocumented students would have to have graduated from a Colorado high school or received their GED within the past five years. They also must have been enrolled in a Colorado public or private high school for at least three years.
The bill, by Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, is scheduled to be introduced today amid heated debate. Lawmakers have argued about immigrant tuition since at least 2003, with a number of Republican lawmakers opposing the measures.
"If you were to ask the citizens of Colorado what they feel, they would be adamantly opposed to it, probably 85 percent," said Sen. Dave Schultheis, R-Colorado Springs. "We're supposed to be representing the people of Colorado. What are we doing running bills they don't want?"
But Romer likely will pick up more high-profile GOP support.
Alex Cranberg, Aspect Energy chairman, said he backs the in-state tuition idea, but wants to read the bill before signing on.
Cranberg is a high-profile donor for Republican candidates and an education advocate who said there are several reasons college should be more affordable for all students.
"All people who live in Colorado are paying sales and real estate taxes and most are having income taxes deducted from their paychecks," he said. "Therefore they are entitled to some level of services."
Cranberg echoed Monfort's sentiments that Colorado benefits from a better-educated populace.
Romer said it is unfair to penalize students whose parents illegally entered the country with their children.
In some households, he said, the older children can't get in-state tuition but their younger siblings can because they were born in this country.
"We need the next generation to be college educated and able to compete in a knowledge-based economy," Romer said.
"The higher-education community would like you to think that's the only way to get ahead, but I know many people who didn't have a degree and they do very well," he said.
Schultheis said he will fight Romer's bill.
Romer said federal law mandates that school districts educate all children, regardless of immigration status, from kindergarten through high school. Those undocumented students are stymied when it's time to go to college because many can't afford out-of-state tuition.
Romer said 10 other states, including Texas, Kansas and New Mexico, have passed "tuition equity"...