The cost of college tuition has skyrocketed in recent years and the issue has become a leading cause among members of the Occupy Wall Street movement, who claim education is fundamental right. They might be happy to know that help is finally on the way... for illegal immigrants.
Metro State College of Denver trustees on Thursday voted 7-1 in favor of a plan that will give illegal aliens a 58 percent tuition break, making them the first college in the country to lower tuition for non-citizens, CBS4 in Denver reports. The state legislature could decide to reduce state funding as a result, one Colorado lawmaker says.
State lawmakers shot-down a bill that would have lowered tuition for illegal immigrations during their last session. Further, CBS4 reports similar laws have been defeated five times in the last nine sessions.
CBS4 in Denver breaks down the details of the new tuition guidelines:
About 300 students would benefit from the tuition change. Those students would also have to meet admission standards. The plan would cut the cost of tuition in half for those students.
The new tuition rate breaks down like this: $6,716.60 per year for a full-time undocumented immigrant student. This compares to nearly $15,985 per year for out-of-state tuition and $4,304.40 per year for in-state tuition.
The new rate will take effect this fall.
Metro State College of Denver will officially change its name to Metro State University of Denver on July 1.
"There are no tax dollars involved, no subsidy, they don't get anything special just a reduced tuition rate," Metro State Trustee Terrance Carroll told CBS4.
However, some critics argue that lower tuition is in fact preferential treatment.
Colorado Rep. Jon Becker, a Republican representing Fort Morgan, Colo., argues the college is also disregarding the decision already made at the state capital.
"The state is giving the college money which goes to paying each of their instructors and keeping up the buildings,” he said. "If one college decides it’s going to break out and do one thing we’ve voted down at the capitol, then we have to take a close look at whether or not its subsidized and how are they figuring it’s not subsidized."
State Sen. Pat Stedman though came out in support of the plan, commending the school for "leading" the state legislature, KMGH in Denver reports.
"You are leading where the legislature has so far, not," Stedman said during public comments before the trustees voted. "What you are doing by offering this opportunity and making this tuition affordable is going to offer them [students] the opportunity for a brighter future which is what this institution is all about."
Most at the Metro State College of Denver trustees meeting were reportedly in support of the proposal. One of the college's graduates, however, was not.
"We need to let the university be the light of truth and not political correctness," Farber said.
Claudia Trejo, apparently in the U.S. illegally, told KMGH that "before this vote, college was a step too far away from me. But now that this vote has happened, I'm able to come and I'm able to afford it."
It is unclear whether the move by Metro State College of Denver will cause a domino effect and if other colleges will follow suit.