Monday, January 29, 2007

In-State Tuition

There was a nice editorial in the Trib yesterday. The author of this editorial says that Rep. Glenn Donnelsen who is sponsoring HB224 (to prohibit undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition) has misinterpreted the federal law. Reading the federal law, I can see how it might be misinterpreted.

US Code, Title 8, Chapter 14, Subchapter II, Section 1623a says:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an alien who is not
lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the
basis of residence within a State (or a political subdivision) for
any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of
the United States is eligible for such a benefit (in no less an
amount, duration, and scope) without regard to whether the citizen
or national is such a resident.

It's confusing, and from what it looks like to me, Donnelson might just be right (as far as following bad law goes). It looks like unless a citizen of the US can get in-state tuition regardless of residency, an undocumented student can't. But non-resident citizens CAN get in-state tuition after meeting some other requirements (one of which is residency for a certain period) which an undocumented student who has lived here and graduated from a local high school has already met, so then it would seem that an undocumented student should be eligible for in-state tuition.

I guess after reading the actual law, I would have to support Donnelson's bill IF he left out the part where undocumented students can't ever get in state tuition, because that is not what the law says. Leaving out that part makes the whole bill a big waste of time. It would be passing a bill that changes nothing. I'm glad they're making good use of their time up on the hill.


Allie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Allie said...

I sent an email to my representatives about this issue, and here's what Dan Eastman had to say:

It is always a pleasure to hear from the people of our district. As
your representative, second-guessing the constituent opinion can be a
challenge, so I highly appreciate any input.

I agree with you, this repeal should not be passed. It is important
that these kids who have grown up, worked, and were educated here are
given the same opportunities as their peers. Though their parents may be
illegal, the fact is irrelevant, and it is crucial that we promote
growth and change in these successful students' lives.

Thank you for your concern, I will be sure to carefully review the
legislation and voice my opinion if need be.