In-state college tuition for illegal aliens

by Fred Elbel

"In-state tuition" is the college tuition that a resident pays to a public college or university in their home state. This is typically much less than the tuition charged to students who come from out-of-state. Allowing an illegal alien student to pay less than an American student is wrong, yet this has been promoted in Congress under the DREAM act. It is also being promoted in a number of states across the country, including, unfortunately, Colorado.

Under U.S. law, illegal aliens may not hold a job in the United States. Thus, tax dollars expended on higher education illegal aliens to prepare them for professional careers only draws more illegal aliens to those states offering in-state tuition.

When an illegal alien is granted in-state tuition and admission to a state university, he or she is directly competing with American students for that educational slot. This competition is unfairly biased against American students in other states who must pay out-of-state tuition to attend the university, while the illegal alien student is given in-state tuition preference.

In-state tuition for illegal aliens is a violation of Federal Law. Federal Law Title 8, Chapter 14, Sec. 1623 states:

"an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a State... for any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of the United States is eligible for such a benefit."

Important points against giving instate tuition to 'undocumented students'

  • 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-state college tuition for illegal aliens gives benefits to adults or nearly-adults over the age of 18 whose parents are also illegal aliens. Recipients of the rewards are not grade-school "youngsters". Taxpayers pay the difference.
  • Federal law mandates that if instate rates are given to illegals, those rates must also be given to all applicants to Colorado's colleges and universities from the other 49 states (see above). Although the law is not actively enforced, giving in-state tuition to illegal aliens is a clear violation of federal law.
  • In-state tuition for illegals is in fact an amnesty disguised as an educational initiative.
  • College entrants slots are fixed and limited. In-state tuition for illegal aliens places U.S. citizens in direct competition with adult illegal aliens for limited slots and tuition benefits.
  • Giving in-state college tuition to adult illegal aliens would unfairly give them benefits not given to American citizens in other states ( e.g., war veterans).
  • Providing in-state tuition to illegal aliens tells legally applying foreign students they are suckers for not becoming illegal aliens.

The 2013 illegal alien tuition bill (SB13-033) was signed into law on April 29, 2013. It went overboard to provide financial aid to illegal alien students.

  • This bill makes 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 overrides 2006 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.

More information on instate tuition for 'immigrants'

From a January 14, 2013 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...50% of Colorado University applicants come from out of state and from out of the country.

Tuition rates have been going up with no end in sight. Tuition rates at CU went up 15% in 2003 and there was talk of raising 2004 tuition by another 40%. (March 25, 2004 Boulder Daily Camera story, "CU pulls big from outside Colorado"). On March 4, 2013, ten years later, the Denver Post ran the story: CU, CSU wish lists include 9 percent tuition hikes for you.

Illegal aliens now pour in from all over the world at a rate of more than 80,000 a month. A 2003 Wal-Mart immigration sweep netted large numbers from Mexico, the Czech Republic, Mongolia, Brazil, Poland, Russia, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Lithuania and some from from African and Asian countries. Because of virtually no internal enforcement, illegal aliens typically bring their entire families into the U.S. There is a potential for a vast number of illegal aliens to receive in-state tuition at taxpayer expense. Thus, instate college tuition for illegals would give an adult illegal alien from Uzbekistan and all the nearly 200 countries of the world benefits that would be denied to American citizens - an absurdity.

If the claimed 1,000 illegals graduating from Colorado high schools were to enroll at CU-Boulder at in-state rates for four years, revenue losses would exceed $65 million (out-of-state citizen tuition rates = $20,346; instate rates = $4,022; loss of one four-year student = $65,296 million.)

Colorado's elected officials are now voting on issues influenced by illegal aliens and their supporters residing in the districts of the state elected officials. For example. State Senator Norma Anderson voted to give in-state tuition to illegals because "I have many Hispanics now residing in my district". Democratic representation of Colorado's citizens is being eroded by ethnic pandering that emphasizes illegal aliens.

Arguments for in-state tuition

Claim: "Yes, but children of undocumented workers should not be punished for what their parents did."

Response: So, Colorado's and America's citizen students should be punished for the illegal acts of illegal-alien parents residing in Colorado?"

  • Since when is the state government in the business of coming to the rescue of adults whose parents committed illegal or imprudent acts?
  • Those adult illegal aliens need to go back to mom and dad and hold them accountable.
  • In the case of Mexican adult illegal aliens, they can easily return to Mexico to receive a virtually free college education at the University of Mexico.

Perspective on in-state tuition for 'undocumented' students

The following Letter to the Editor was published in the Colorado Daily in 2004. It is still relevant today.


It's curious how "objective" news stories can be written in just about any way it author preconceives things. Take, for example, Adam Ewing's story, A DREAM or a nightmare? Instead of it having been written in sob-story fashion leaning in favor of giving away the store to illegal aliens, consider this perhaps more accurate rendering:

A dream or a NIGHTMARE?

For illegal aliens, there are revered stories of breaking into the U.S. and then being rewarded with all kinds of goodies and freebies. But for Susan, who lives with her family just across the border in Nebraska, that story is a nightmare.

A bill currently working its way through Congress, the NIGHTMARE Act, would deny Susan, a veteran and Purple Heart recipient, the opportunity to go to college in Colorado at in-state rates. But it would give those rates to illegal aliens from every country in the world. Currently, federal law requires that if illegal aliens are given in-state rates, the same must be given to U.S. citizens from the other states. The proposed bill would eliminate that provision.

Hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens would be denied in-state rates while illegal aliens, such as Maria X, a Mexican illegal alien whose parents illegally sent her north to mooch a free K-12 education, would be awarded that benefit. As a Mexican citizen, Ms. X, who is eligible for a virtually free college education in Mexico, would get the chance to attend Colorado colleges at in-state rates. (X already is attending an undisclosed Colorado college, but it is undetermined at this point if she committee fraud to get in or if her two-year-old child, as is typical of illegal-alien mothers, was a Medicaid freebie.)

Such a measure would fulfill Maria's parents' dream, but it would mean a financial nightmare for Susan's parents, fourth-generation Nebraskan family farmers. "Out of common sense and fairness, our laws should allow United State citizens at least parity with illegal aliens not to mention the outrage that American citizens would not be given first priority," words Susan says she wishes but doesn't expect to hear from the Hispandering president of the United States.

The NIGHTMARE Act would allow illegal aliens, who unlawfully entered the U.S., to be eligible to receive in-state tuition rates and a six-year, temporary legal resident status, which could lead to U.S. Citizenship. The illegal-alien student could become a permanent legal resident if he or she completes two years of school toward a degree.

But until this absurdity is resolved in favor of U.S. citizens, Susan and her like are trapped in a kind of no-citizen's-need-apply, void, sandwiched between right and wrong. "I get tired of people asking if I am an illegal alien," Susan said with frustration. "I feel bad that I have to lie to be accepted, but maybe with a return to some common sense, I will be able to get at least some of the benefits handed out to illegal aliens," she added.

For Susan and others like her, that would only be fair. And while greatly disheartened and not terribly optimistic, Susan's resolve to bring some sense to the nonsensical remains steadfast. "We must wake up from this nightmare and get real," said Susan, having just returned from a long 12-hour day attending to livestock and mending fences. Removing her dusty hat and wiping the sweat from her brow, she paused and rhetorically sighed aloud, "Is this my reward for serving my country?"