Ten years after it was first introduced in the legislature, a bill allowing illegal immigrants [illegal aliens] in Colorado to attend public colleges at the in-state tuition rate appears to be just days away from passage.
The Colorado House gave the bill initial approval Tuesday in a debate that turned nasty at times, with discussions about hope and taxes. The House approved the bill on a voice vote and is expected to take it up for a recorded vote on Friday, thus sending it to Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat who has said he will sign it.
This year marks at least the sixth time in 10 years some sort of tuition bill has been introduced but the first time it is expected to pass...
A legislative fiscal analysis on the original version of the bill estimated there are approximately 1,500 high school graduates each year in Colorado without legal immigration status, and of those, about 500 will attend college the first year the law takes effect...
Based on those numbers, the new students would generate an additional $2 million in tuition for colleges and universities in the first year and $3 million the following year, money which also would be spent to educate those students. But because the 2013 bill includes immigrant [illegal alien] students in the College Opportunity Fund, the state would spend $930,000 the first year and $1.4 million the following year, the analysis said.
But the version of the bill the Senate passed takes the fiscal note off the bill. Democratic senators argued that it was wrong to infer there would be more from the College Opportunity Fund spent on the undocumented students because the fund is simply divided up on a per-student basis and sent to institutions.
"This is taxpayer-funded; make no mistake, taxpayers fund the (College Opportunity Fund)," said Rep. Amy Stephens, R-Monument...
An unexpected $30 million budget boost from the state legislature was intended to brake, if not halt, tuition hikes at Colorado colleges and universities.
Last year there was a 9% tuition increase by CSU and a 5% increase by CU.
CAIRCO notes that:
Giving in-state tuition to illegal aliens rewards criminal behavior and entices even more illegal immigration.
It is illegal for illegal aliens to work in the United States. Even if they have a taxpayer-subsidized college degree.
As there are only a fixed number of classroom seats, giving in-state tuition to illegal aliens will displace deserving American students of their higher education.
In addition, this bill will make illegal aliens eligible for College Opportunity Trust funds and full institutional financial aid.
The bill also exempts persons receiving educational services or benefits from providing any required documentation of lawful presence in the United States. This specifically overrides2006 HB 1023 - the most important immigration sanity bill to come out of the 2006 special legislative session.
HB 1023 requires each applicant who applies for public benefits to affirm that they are lawfully present in the country.
From a January 14 Denver Post article: "Colorado Democrats back in-state tuition break for illegal immigrants" [aliens]
...the College Opportunity Fund scholarship, which is a subsidy given to all Colorado students who get the in-state rate. The subsidy, which is $1,116 for a student taking 18 credit hours, works as a sort of voucher, going with every student to their college of choice, and was created as a legal workaround so the state could increase funding to colleges without it counting against revenue limits under the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights.
Under current tuition rates, an in-state student in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado-Boulder taking 18 credit hours pays $5,144 per semester. With the College Opportunity Fund scholarship added in, that rate falls to $4,028.
An out-of-state student, meanwhile, pays $14,976 in the same example...
House Minority Leader Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs, who said...
"They (illegal immigrants) can't get a job," Waller said. "I think it gives false hope. It's just another attempt for Democrats to make government all things for all people."
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