April 26, 2007

Contact the Georgia Board of Regents! NO INSTATE TUITION FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS!

Posted by D.A. King at 10:41 am - Email the author   Print This Post Print This Post  

It is (another) violation of federal law to grant instste tuition to illegal aliens unless ALL students in the state get the same low tuition. See that pesky law here. dak

From the AJC while I was in Washington

Regents seek input on tuition rates for illegal immigrants
By Brian Feagans
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 04/21/07

The Board of Regents’ attorney has said Georgia students who are in the country illegally shouldn’t be eligible for in-state tuition. Now the board wants the public’s opinion, too.

The regents, who oversee public higher education in Georgia, announced Friday that they will sponsor a series of meetings around the state in May to collect comments. The move comes as the board tries to comply with SB 529, a sweeping immigration law that takes effect in July.

Board spokesman John Millsaps said the meetings in Clarkston, Dalton, Gainesville and Tifton will focus strictly on the tuition issue. Participants can submit written comments or sign up to speak for up to three minutes. “This is not a forum for people to talk about undocumented people getting emergency health care or not,” Millsaps said.

Associate Vice Chancellor Burns Newsome, the board’s attorney, last year concluded that university and college presidents should stop granting so-called tuition “waivers” to students who may have high grades but lack legal residency in the United States. Those students would have to pay out-of-state tuition, often about four times the in-state rate.

Latino and immigrant advocates have questioned Newsome’s interpretation of SB 529, saying the regents are unnecessarily erecting roadblocks for some of Georgia’s best and brightest. Former state senator Sam Zamarripa, an Atlanta Democrat, fought for a clause to exempt postsecondary education from a requirement that the state verify legal U.S. residency for anyone receiving a public benefit.

“The legislative intent was to provide the regents the flexibility they need to meet the educational needs of the state,” Zamarripa said.

But that same clause calls on higher-education officials to draft policies for complying with federal law. And Newsome interpreted in-state tuition as a public benefit barred under federal rules to those who can’t prove they are in the country legally. State Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock), the architect of SB 529, agrees, saying his intent was to make sure only legal U.S. residents gain in-state tuition.

It’s unclear how many students will be directly affected by SB 529.

People interested in speaking must sign up for a designated three-minute slot. To register, or for more information, visit www.usg.edu/meetings/.

> 10 a.m.-2 p.m. May 8, Gignilliat Memorial Hall Auditorium, Dalton State College, Dalton
> 3-7 p.m. May 9, Cole Auditorium Fine Arts Building, Georgia Perimeter College, Clarkston
> 10 a.m.-2 p.m. May 11, small auditorium, University of Georgia Conference Center, Tifton
> 10 a.m.-2 p.m. May 14, Chattahoochee Room, Gainesville Civic Center, Gainesville