Tuition break for noncitizen students?

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Tuition break for noncitizen students?

Postby LowellTech on Tue Jun 22, 2004 9:52 pm

I'd be interested to hear thoughts from others on this budget item.


Lowell Sun
Article Last Updated: Tuesday, June 22, 2004 - 11:18:55 AM EST

Tuition break for noncitizen students?

State plan would give reduced rates to immigrants if they prove they're seeking citizenship

By JULIE MEHEGAN, Sun Statehouse Bureau
BOSTON Students who are not U.S. citizens but who have gone to high school in Massachusetts would be entitled to reduced resident tuition rates at state colleges and universities under a proposal included in the final 2005 state budget.
The budget rider would allow immigrants who have attended at least three years and graduated from a Massachusetts high school to qualify for the lower tuition rate at state and community colleges and the University of Massachusetts.

But the students must be able to prove they are pursuing or plan to pursue, once they are eligible legal citizenship.

The out-of-state tuition rate can be up to three times the reduced rate for in-state residents. In 2002-2003, for example, full-time students at UMass Lowell paid an in-state rate of $5,213 in tuition and fees, while nonresidents paid $14,651.

Full-time students at Middlesex Community College paid an in-state rate of $3,020 in tuition and fees that year, while out-of-state students paid $10,940.

Lawmakers have been debating the in-state tuition issue as it applies to immigrant students for a year. The budget proposal is viewed as a compromise between those who support the tuition break for all immigrant students, regardless of their legal status, and others who believe the discounted rate should apply only to those who are legal residents.

"I think it's a compromise that helps out kids that are truly citizens of the commonwealth but just don't have that status yet," said Rep. Kevin Murphy, D-Lowell, vice chairman of the Legislature's Joint Committee on Education.

Lawmakers heard testimony over the last year from high-achieving students whose parents brought them to the United States and who have attended Massachusetts high schools, but who are not legal citizens and so are not entitled to the in-state tuition rate. Many said without the in-state tuition, they would be unable to attend college.

Other students who are legal residents for example, those with temporary protected status said they should also be able to pay in-state rates because they are living here legally.

Supporters say the measure included in the budget will ensure that the state's growing immigrant population will have access to higher education, key to securing an educated work force, while ensuring the students are taking steps to gain legal status.

"Massachusetts doesn't need artificial barriers to brains," said Rep. Peter Larkin, D-Pittsfield, who lobbied for including the proposal in the final budget. "It's our growth population. I also look back from a historical standpoint and recognize that we all came from somewhere else. This is no time to pull up the ladder."

Sen. Steven Panagiotakos, D-Lowell, who opposed including the measure in the final budget, said he would consider supporting the in-state tuition benefit for students who are not citizens, provided they have legal status to live here.

But those students whose families have not pursued legal citizenship since arriving in the U.S. should not receive the same benefit, he said.

"You hate to discourage anybody from further educating themselves, or make it harder for them. That's not what I'm about," Panagiotakos said. "But I do have a fundamental problem if their status is not legal."

Residents who have not sought to legalize their immigration status should have access to emergency benefits, Panagiotakos said, but "a break in college tuition is certainly not an emergency benefit. There are too many people I know that have had to go back to their country when their visas have run out to try to get back, follow the law, and do it the right way."

Panagiotakos said he would also consider supporting the benefit if the federal government takes steps to grant legal status to many illegal immigrants, as is now proposed.
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Tuition break for noncitizen students?

Postby pino on Wed Jun 23, 2004 4:50 am

Why should an Immigrant student get in state
tuition status, when a student from N.H.
pays the out of State rate????
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Tuition break for noncitizen students?

Postby LowellTech on Wed Jun 23, 2004 1:51 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by VJ:
Why should an Immigrant student get in state
tuition status, when a student from N.H.
pays the out of State rate????
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Agreed. Here's today's Lowell Sun editorial on this subject.

After two years of municipal overrides, one would expect state legislators would be more fiscally responsible. Perhaps they are unconvinced that the onslaught of challengers will be voted in? Think again...


Article Last Updated: Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - 11:41:10 AM EST



Non-citizens win, while citizens lose

On one hand, the state Legislature is reaching out to the children of illegal immigrants in paving the way for non-citizens to obtain reduced resident tuition rates at state colleges and universities.
On the other, the Legislature is endorsing a moratorium on the expansion of public charter schools, thereby denying Massachusetts parents a quality educational choice for their children.

Lawmakers, egged on by teachers' unions that view charter schools as a threat, have questioned the financial formula used to fund the innovative enterprises.

But not one of our esteemed politicians has spoken out against the steep discount that will be given to the children of illegal immigrants. They'll be allowed to pay the same college tuition as all Massachusetts residents.

Non-citizenship has its privileges, afterall.

What's worse is the hypocrisy of providing non-citizens with a better shot at the American dream while blocking U.S. citizens from obtaining theirs.

Sometimes we wonder if lawmakers actually think these things through.

Under the 1993 Education Reform Act, the Legislature promised to give inner-city parents an innovative option to failing school systems. That option was the establishment of public charter schools. Today, there are 43 in operation. The goal was to develop 72 statewide.

Charter schools have done well. More than 60 percent of the state's urban charter schools have outpaced comparable public schools in their cities on MCAS, according to a recent analysis.

The Legislature, however, has greeted this success with a decision to renege on its 1993 pledge by slapping a moratorium on charter school expansion in 2005. Five new schools slated to open will be delayed. And parents who placed 400 children on waiting lists will be denied left out.

Lost on the Democrat-controlled Legislature is the discontent of these parents, who have struggled for years against the educational status quo in their cities and towns.

Now, thanks to lawmakers, their at-risk children will be taking a backseat to non-citizens' sons and daughters passing a simple attendance requirement: three years in a Massachusetts high school. And who will pick up the tab? John Q. Taxpayer, the guy who always foots the bill for legislative largess.

Certainly, the illegal immigrant issue is a pressing one. The federal government is working on a plan to put non-residents with jobs on a path toward legal residency and U.S. citizenship. It will benefit their children too. Massachusetts, however, is putting the cart before the horse, devising a feel-good measure that will promote more illegal entry into the country. It's not right.

Gov. Mitt Romney has every right to veto this giveaway, especially when it burdens taxpayers who are being stripped of enhancing their own children's educational aspirations.
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Tuition break for noncitizen students?

Postby Josh Lyman on Wed Jun 23, 2004 2:01 pm

ABSOLUTELY!!! We complain about taxes and deficit. Then the liberals want to give more money away.
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Tuition break for noncitizen students?

Postby mike_flynn on Sat Oct 23, 2004 12:11 am

Thank you Mitt Romney for not giving more taxpayer money to ILLEGAL Aliens!

My only question is that how were the ILLEGAL Aliens allowed to graduate from Massachusetts high schools in the first place?

Check out the following article from the Boston Herald on Wednesday, October 20, 2004 for more details:

Insulted Mass. immigrants protest GOP `fear' tactics
By Ann E. Donlan
Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Immigrants insulted by GOP campaign literature that targets Democratic lawmakers for supporting a bill that gives ``illegal immigrants a tuition break'' protested at the State House yesterday to denounce Gov. Mitt Romney's support of the ``fear'' tactic.

``It's OK that you do not agree with the dreams of immigrant children, children who had no part in the decision to come to this country,'' said Felipe Hernandez, 18, of East Boston High School. ``But what is not OK is that you are using our situation to gain votes for your candidates. It is not only wrong, but immoral.''

About 150 immigrants and union members gathered outside Romney's office, shouting as Romney was behind closed doors, ``Immigrant bashing has got to go!''

This summer, Romney vetoed legislation, supported by some Republican lawmakers that would have provided in-state tuition to illegal aliens who have lived in Massachusetts for three years and graduated from a Massachusetts high school.

``No matter how well-intentioned, it's not good public policy to extend state benefits to people who are in our country illegally,'' said Romney's spokeswoman, Shawn Feddeman.
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