Colorado School Sets Higher Tuition For Undocumented Immigrants

Denver’s Metropolitan State University, which says that it “educates more undergraduate Coloradans than anyone else in the state,” is going ahead with a controversial new plan to charge a new tuition rate for students who are undocumented immigrants.

Under the new plan, some students who are undocumented immigrants will be charged $3,358 per semester, about $1,000 more than in-state students pay, but about $4,600 less than is charged for out-of-state students. Students must meet these criteria: They must have been residents for at least three years, have a degree from a Colorado high school or a GED and be “in good legal standing other than their immigration status.”

Metro State announced its rate plan shortly after the ASSET bill, which sought to provide discounted rates at all Colorado colleges and universities for students who are undocumented immigrants. According to the Denver Post, the immediate result was a “firestorm” with “some members of the state legislature wonder[ing] if the school was trying to circumvent their work and hinted at political repercussions.”

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has issued an opinion that the tuition rate plan is illegal under state law. After this, a number of Metropolitan State officials testified before Colorado’s Joint Budget Committee, which oversees funding for higher education.

Metro State is confident that it can proceed with its tuition plan and contends that a recent Obama administration decision — that children brought illegally into the US by their parents can have deportation attempts deferred for two years and can apply for work permits — supports it. Students who apply for the different rate (and almost 100 have done so, say Metro State officials) must provide provide notarized documention “affirming that they have either filed an application to legalize their status and/or applied for deferred action under the Homeland Security ruling, or will do so as soon as they become eligible.”

But as former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo points out, even if an injunction is issued against the new tuition rate, some 100 students would be “in jeopardy because now they’ve been identified as being illegal.” The non-profit Rocky Mountain Foundation, which Tancredo runs, is planning to pursue legal action against Metro State for violating state and federal law. While noting that different state colleges can disagree about tuition policies but not change the law, Tancredo stated that, “Metro State must wait for the General Assembly to change the law, and if the law is not changed, they can’t make new laws by themselves.”

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Kate Bates
Kathleen B5 years ago

Borders, boundaries and passports are a component of man-made laws. For most of human history our tribes and clans have moved routinely to search for food, to avoid danger, in other words it is part of our survival kit.

US citizens less than two hundred years ago waged a genocidal campaign to destroy the people of the first nations. It seems to me that the indigenous people loved the land and venerated Mother Earth, with the arrival of European land usurpers was their philosophy that the earth was 'ours' to subdue and exploit. Look where that has brought us, to the edge of extinction.

If you don't believe me take a look at New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. NOLA is still devastated, her people scattered. A month after the hurricane NOLA was flooded with Spanish and Portuguese speaking immigrants. Bodegas popped up and these immigrants were preferred to the locals because not only would they work for less, they can be easily conned. When cheated of their pay, they had no one to turn to. The police would put them on deportation list, etc.

These immigrants are not the problem imho. We of the Mitt Romney's 47% should be uniting with these immigrants and refugees. It was the Mitt Romneys of the world that shipped US workers jobs to China & India. People must eat, and if I were in the shoes of 'illegal immigrants' and my family was starving, I very well could jump a fence and cross a border for me and my family's survival.

James Holland
Elizabeth Keenan5 years ago

When even the seriously crazy Tancredo is against something like this, you have to wonder just how bad the idea is.

Especially when people like Romney are the real freeloaders. I'm not hearing the uproar over the major corporations and their CEO's from the right.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

good. they are lucky to be getting an education here at all, instead of being escorted to prison or back to their own country. if they want to come here and take advantage of what America has to offer they can do it legally, just as thousands before them have

Jane R.
Jane R5 years ago

So some of you think the U.S. is supposed to use your tax dollars to feed, house and educate anyone who is in this country illegally and undocumented? I hope you have the money to finance their freeloading, I don't. They shold all be deported asap! Save our tax dollars for our less fortunate citizens, not give aliens anything free!!

Robert C.
Robert Cruder5 years ago

The article misrepresents Metro's policy as raising the tuition for undocumented students when it REDUCES tuition for undocumented students below that for non-residents.

The attorney general observed that this benefits students who are no more able to prove legal residence than new arrivals and with no support from state law. Similar bills have consistently failed in the legislature.

Metro compromised with requirements that were not in themselves onerous but that did entail confession to a minor crime. To avoid liability for the school and possible subpoena of student records by Homeland Security, applicants needed to establish a modicum of legality as well as shield themselves from forced deportation in the near term.

Colorado citizens might well ask “what is the public benefit from subsidizing illegal migrants who cannot legally be employed in their field of study”. Although this is only a minor extension to the Federal requirement of providing K-12 for every child, it is indeed a problem for the applicant unless the President's proposal for temporary (but long term) residency and employment permits can be made permanent.

We do not know how the contest between the attorney general and Metro will resolve. The 100 or so current applicants may have assumed a significant risk for nothing. One would hope that they did undertake the recommended actions to protect themselves.

Kate Bates
Kathleen B5 years ago

IMO anyone who wants to learn should be encouraged. The reason I think undocumented people should have the same opportunities as US citizens is because most of these people, were brought here by their parents and they shouldn't be punished by decisions they did not make.

Iraq had free higher learning for all before we destroyed the country's infrastructure and the deliberate murder of 'intellectuals' such as scientists, professors, doctors, etc.
I think this is what we should strive for in the future, education for all who want it, not just for the wealthy elites who can afford it.

Denise L.
Denise L.5 years ago

I worked 3 jobs to put my children through college. I received NO help from anyone. I am tired of using my tax dollars for people who should not be here because they came in illegally. I don't care what country they came from.

Pamela Tracy
Pamela Tracy5 years ago

Actually if you are still undocumented at college more tuition.

Deborah M.
Deborah M5 years ago

I totally agree with everything Denise H has written. People are being deported from countries other than Mexico so get off the freaking racist game card. It is all about what is legal. It is illegal to speed, it is illegal to enter this country without proper documentation and please don't any of you sit there & try to convince me otherwise. I have a very close relative that works for Homeland Security & what freaking Obama is doing right now is a disgrace. I have many friends who have come to this country the right way and I agree--they should all get a good refund from this stinking government for all the money and lost wages waiting to become a citizen where now these people from China, Mexico, India, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Africa, France, Germany, Viet Nam, and every other country are coming in, popping out a kid or 20 and get to stay. I say NO FREAKING way. I had to pay for my education and my children's. Suck it up and get the heck out of our country. They really are turning our country into a 3rd world......And yes, I mean all of them. And to Nicole, I think it is downright robbery to the United States Citizens that we are paying for people to get an education when our own children born here don't even get this. So why don't you just write out a check for these people if you feel that bad.

Deborah F.
Deborah F5 years ago

Thanks for the article.