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Board Of Governors Unanimously Approves In-State Tuition For Illegal Immigrants

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Following hours of testimony on both sides of the issue, the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education Monday voted unanimously to offer undocumented students in-state tuition at the state’s public university and colleges.

The measure, which takes effect in 2012, requires students to attend Rhode Island high schools for at least three years and ensures that they will have to commit to seeking legal status as soon as become eligible.

The Board of Governors took up the matter after the General Assembly failed to act during the last legislative session. On Sunday, Governor Chafee endorsed the plan, calling it an end to a “needless roadblock.”

“This measure will improve the intellectual and cultural life of our state while strengthening our workforce and helping our economy,” Chafee said. “Extending in-state tuition rates to undocumented students will allow more Rhode Islanders to go on to college.”

Every Kid Has A Right To An Education

On Monday, dozens of Rhode Islanders voiced both their support for and opposition to the measure. During the hearing, Providence City Councilwoman Sabina Matos said the plan comes down to fairness.

“I'm in support because I believe every kid should have a right to an education,” Matos said. “We're not asking for a grant, we're not asking to get any assistance, what we're asking for is the fairness that for kids that have been living in the state of Rhode Island to get in-state tuition--all we want is the fairness so that someone who went through school in the state of Rhode Island to get in-state tuition.”

Matt Gunnip Co-President of the Master of Social Work Student Organization at Rhode Island College, presented a petition with more than 200 signatures of students in favor of the plan.

“This issue comes down to social justice. It is inherently unfair for undocumented students who graduate high school in Rhode Island to pay two and a half times the rate of other students living in Rhode Island,” Gunnip said. “Due to the economic disadvantages of undocumented children, paying such costs is not only unfair, but unaffordable.”

Must Be Stopped

Tuition rates at each of the state’s three public schools have steadily increased over the past decade. At the University of Rhode Island, in-state tuition is 9,824.00 per year while the out-of-state cost is $25,912.00. At Rhode Island College, the cost is $6,240 for in-state versus $16,526 for nonresidents. The Community College of Rhode Island charges $3,356 for in-state and $9,496 for students not from Rhode Island.

In an e-mail sent Monday, the Rhode Island Tea Party railed against the plan.

“This is simply an end run around our Legislature who has refused to pass legislation that would do the very same thing at least FIVE YEARS in a row,” the e-mail stated. “We absolutely MUST attempt to stop this. This policy could COST the taxpayers of RI about $12,000 in taxes for each illegal alien student that attends our in-state colleges.”

During the hearing, Raymond McKay, President RI Republican Assembly, said the bottom line is offering illegal immigrant students in-state tuition is rewarding them for the illegal actions of their parents.

“I stand in opposition to this,” McKay said. “We're taking a look at an issue of bringing children forward who are going to benefit from the illegal actions of their parents. How does the Board of Governors, who is responsible for the education of the students of the state of Rhode Island, come to grasp with the fact that they are rewarding these students for the illegal actions of their parents?”

Applauding Board Of Governors

But supporters say the plan will improve the quality of Rhode Island’s workforce, which has been called into question over the past year. Kate Brock, Executive Director of Ocean State Action, said the plan rectifies a great injustice to Rhode Island youth.

“Undocumented students who came here through no fault of their own should not be denied the same access higher education that is extended to their peers and classmates,” Brock said. “I applaud the members of the Board of Governors for taking up this measure to provide in-state tuition to all Rhode Island students. Making college affordable for undocumented students who have done the right thing, studied hard and excelled academically will improve the quality of our workforce and lives and rectify a great injustice for Rhode Island youth.”

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What happens to these college graduates? Will they be allowed to get a job even if they are still here illegally? How many hard working LEGAL citizens are having their hard earned pensions cut due to a lack of state money but let's support illegal activity.

Comment #1 by barnaby morse on 2011 09 27

Matos would't know "fairness" if she tripped over it
Fair in the Matos dictionary means..whatever gets me votes !!
if she represented a more urban area ie Coventry, what would her opinion be then??
but then again she & Tony Affigne couldn't have stole the election in Coventry as they did w/voting irregularities in Prov..now that's FAIR
McGowan..your bleeding heart is shading your work.

Comment #2 by Buc Kner on 2011 09 27

wasnt the board of governors supposed to be disbanded in last years budget?

i believe the discussion was , who needs it?

now that this is done, what next?

Comment #3 by john paycheck on 2011 09 27

all but one of the board members was appointed in 2011.

and the one year terms all expire in january 2012.

so i guess they have to vote this way or they dont get reappointed.

does it sound right that the vote was unanamous????

not one person voted against this? when it has been shot down by the legislature 5 years in a row.

so much for diversity on this board.

Comment #4 by john paycheck on 2011 09 27

@barnabymorse....if you read the article you would have read that these students receiving in-state tuition will have to commit to seeking legal status as soon as they become eligible.

Comment #5 by Steve Krieger on 2011 09 27

Dictatorship at it's finest. Do what you want and don't listen to the people.

Comment #6 by pearl fanch on 2011 09 27

I have lived in Silver Lake for 25 years and so far Matos is an improvement over DiRuzzo. Matos has monthly meetings in the neighborhood and organizes clean up days. I voted for DiRuzzo but I think she was too old for the job. She never did much that I saw. One time she yelled at me cause i called her twice about about trash. I met Matos husband Tony to. He seems like a good guy.

Comment #7 by gary mason on 2011 09 27

I dont agree with this, they should have to get in line like everyone else. Also if parents from other countries just keep bringing there kids in illegally knowing that they will be educated here whats to stop them from continuing bringing them here illegally. If I was to commit a crime with lets say a friend and he goes with me to rob a bank, wouldn't he be an accessory to the crime, we just cant let people off the hook. It may not be the kids fault but like in everything the parents are responsible, if they choose to bring the kids here illegally they have to know there are consequences not rewards.

Comment #8 by anthony sionni on 2011 09 28

Illegal. The term is illegal. They are not undocumented. They are law breaking ILLEGAL immigrants, who belong...either in jail, or back to the countries they came from. What our politicians is doing is illegal & immoral.
They are taking in these criminals, and yes, let's not forget that the first thing these people have done, was to enter the country illegally. Then our government takes them in. We find them a place to live, we offer them welfare benefits, we offer them food stamps, we offer them medical care, and now we offer them education.
The immoral part comes in when our government, turns an ear to the people who put them in power. When WE declare that we don't want them here, that they are criminals among us, that by law they should be punished or returned to their countries, our government betrays US. Our government and law enforcement refuse to uphold the constitution, and do their jobs. WE are FORCED to pay higher taxes to help support them.
WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH?!?!??!?!?!?!?!??!?

Comment #9 by pearl fanch on 2011 09 28

when i look at the board members, most are extreme left wing and the rest are those that would vote whatever way the governor at the time told them to vote regardless of their own opinion.

there are clearly people on the board who would have voted no if carcieri was till governor.

they will vote however it takes to get reappointed. so whats the point of having the board if thats how business is done.

this board was supposed to be eliminated last year in the budget.

Comment #10 by john paycheck on 2011 09 28

The only way to get the message across to the Governor and the board is to have everyone denounce their citizenship and apply for all of the services available to illegals. In these dire economic times especially in RI we can not have these do gooders give our scarce money away to illegals, never mind the abundant fraud and waste that goes on all the time.

Comment #11 by Gary Arnold on 2011 09 29

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