Undocumented tuition

CSU’s Board of Governors (BOG) voted last Friday to support Senate Bill 13-33 in the Colorado General Assembly, allowing undocumented immigrants who graduate from a Colorado high school to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities in the state.

While the BOG’s intentions are good, trying to fulfil CSU’s land-grant mission to provide affordable education to everybody in the state, they’ve voted to support a poor version of the legislation that disregards Colorado’s higher education funding crisis.

Democrats are newly back in control of both chambers of Colorado legislature, and they’re using their power to pass Bill 13-33, which has little of the compromise language the bill used to include in years previous when Republicans had control of the state House.

The compromise was that undocumented immigrants would pay an “unsubsidized” rate to attend state universities, so they’d be able to pay in-state rates minus the College Opportunity Fund scholarship, which is available to all Colorado students. The thinking behind the compromise trying to minimize the amount of benefit provided by taxpayer money undocumented immigrants would be able to receive while not being a full taxpaying citizen.

With higher education spending in Colorado in crisis, ranked near the bottom nationally in terms of state support, our legislature should have been as fiscally conservative as possible when passing this measure, and not including the College Opportunity Fund would save the state approximately $930,000 the first year and $1.4 million the following, the Denver Post reports.

Everybody’s heart is in the right place supporting Bill 13-33, however, it can’t be at the expense of Colorado taxpayers, legal residents and our already thin stretched higher education funding.