With an open mind and two sides of the story, you’re bound to learn something new.
Welcome to the zoo! This is a blog where both the Republican and Democratic viewpoints are represented. The blog is not meant to sway you either way necessarily, just present both sides of the story. You may not agree with the whole article, but hey, you’re likely to agree with half! The topic this week: undocumented immigrants receiving in-state tuition rates.
As a society, we encourage primary and secondary public education regardless of citizenship. Why does this mentality end after high school? Once undocumented students graduate high school, many are unable to attend college because of exorbitant tuition. Currently, twenty states have legislation allowing in-state tuition rates for undocumented students who can prove residency. As evidenced by the current presidential primary election, most Americans care tremendously about improving college affordability. While fighting for lower college costs, we cannot forget about the many students in our country who take their education very seriously but are unable to attend college because of financial and citizenship issues. FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) protects students from being denied education based on their citizenship status. This should also include in-state tuition when students apply for college.
Most students who want to enroll in higher education institutions were brought by their parents to the United States as young children. Their futures should not be determined by their parents’ lack of citizenship. Restricting these bright, young students from receiving in-state tuition prevents many undocumented students the opportunity to attend college when they otherwise could have gone to school and become hard-working, productive members of our society. Rather, these students are forced to find a way to earn money without a proper education. Promoting in-state tuition for college education would allow these students to break away from the uneducated workforce. If a student meets the proper residency and academic requirements, why is it fair to force her to pay almost double the price for public college education than a student living next door does? An uneducated workforce places more of an onus on state costs than a workforce that can contribute positively to society. Education is essential in sustaining a progressive and enlightened society that strives to improve the lives of every person from every walk of life. We should give all students equal opportunity to succeed in the United States.
A federal law passed in 1996 prevented illegal immigrants from paying in-state tuition at public institutions of higher education. However, there are currently 12 states that have passed laws to allow these undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition if they have attended high school in that state for at least 3 years.
Many people who feel that unauthorized immigrants should be able to receive in-state tuition also support legislation like the DREAM Act. These individuals emphasize the argument that illegal immigrant students should not suffer as a result of their parent’s choices and America’s immigration policies. This train of thought completely dismisses the fact that granting these benefits to undocumented immigrants is against federal law, which states that colleges are legally allowed to offer in-state tuition to illegal immigrants if that same rate is also offered to students from all other 49 states. However, this law is not actively enforced. Colleges ignore this and only offer in-state tuition to American students of the state and illegal immigrants.
In addition, tuition for foreign students is significantly greater than even what out-of-state students pay. Providing unauthorized immigrants with in-state tuition is ignoring the foreign students’ plight. These students would be better off coming illegally to the United States for a few years to receive in-state tuition.
Furthermore, these unauthorized immigrant students are directly competing with American students for the limited educational slots. This system is unfairly biased against American students in other states that are not granted the diminished rates of in-state tuition, while illegal immigrant students are provided with in-state tuition preference.
Allowing illegal immigrants to benefit from in-state tuition is a practice that is against federal law – and it should remain that way. Providing undocumented students with in-state tuition rates is biased against legal American citizens, some of whom struggle to afford college without financial aid, as well as foreign students paying preposterous amounts to attend college in this country.