Illegal Aliens Get Tuition Breaks; Americans Pay Up
Nearly half a million illegal aliens arebenefiting from in-state tuition at major U.S. public universities, reducingstate revenues and crowding out American students.
The National Immigration Law Center reports that 21 states — including Texas, California, Illinois, Florida and Maryland – grant in-state tuition breaks to illegal aliens. A map shows tuition laws in all 50 states.
“This issue is important to U.S. citizens, legal immigrants and permanent residents because the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition rates for most public institutions is substantial,” FAIR noted in its own report last month.
During the 2018-19 academicyear, the average in-state tuition rate at four-year public schools in the U.S.was $10,230, while out-of-state tuition averaged $26,290.
Immigrant advocacy groups promoting their agendasof “diversity” and “equal access” have pushed a growing number of stateuniversities to not only admit illegal aliens, but to grant them tuition breaksdenied to legal out-of-state applicants.
This discriminates againstlow- to modest-income Americans who also have college dreams. Awardingdiscounted tuition to 450,000 foreign nationals in this country illegally isanything but “equal.”
In fact, granting illegalaliens in-state tuition can be read as a violation of federal law. The IllegalImmigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996 (8 U.S.Code § 1623) seems clear enough:
“Notwithstanding any otherprovision of law, an alien who is not lawfully present in the United Statesshall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a State (or a politicalsubdivision) for any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen ornational of the United States is eligible for such a benefit (in no less anamount, duration, and scope) without regard to whether the citizen or nationalis such a resident.”
But states are skirting the federal law through a loopholeopened by California, which makes in-state tuition contingent on havingcompleted three years of high school there, rather than on legal residency.Congress, having ceased to function in any meaningful way, has not closed this loophole.
Only three states — Arizona,Georgia and Indiana — officially bar illegal aliens from receiving in-statetuition at public universities. Two others – Alabama and South Carolina —prohibit illegal aliens from enrolling in most of their public colleges.
Public universities cuttingtuition breaks for illegal aliens are not just third-rate diploma millsdesperate for warm bodies. UCLA and UC Berkeley, ranked by U.S. News & World Report as America’s No. 1 and No. 2 public universities, offer generous discounts to illegal aliens who happen to be in California. While reducing tuition for students without legal status by $30,000 a year ($13,000 vs. $43,000 for legal, non-California enrollees), the UC system caps its enrollment of out-of-state Americans at 18 percent of the student body.
The absurdity climaxes with the reality that illegal aliens – with degrees or not – are barred from legal employment in this country. Then again, no one said these tuition deals are predicated on law or logic. It’s a paradox for Americans to ponder as they work to pay off their collective $1.5 trillion in college loan debt.