In-State Tuition for Illegal Aliens: The Misinformation and Non-Responsive Justifications Persist
On Thursday morning, a member of the Board of Governors for Higher Education, Attorney Eva Mancuso, appeared on WPRO’s John Depetro Show to explain why the BOG was considering extending in-state college tuition to illegal alien students.
Unfortunately, her answers fell short in a couple of key areas.
Asked by her host why the BOG would even consider such a policy, Attorney Mancuso referenced that infinitely elastic yet highly selective quality of fairness. “Infinitely elastic” because there are no end of government policies that could be implemented and tax dollars that could be spent in its pursuit. “Strangely narrow” in this case because fairness is sought only for one group of college-aged students. How is it fair to require out-of-state students to pay a much higher tuition than in-state ones? How is it remotely fair to give such preferential treatment to illegal aliens but not to legal immigrants? Wherever they reside (in state or not), the latter group immigrated here the right way, in conformance with our laws. If it’s “fair” to reward illegal aliens with in-state tuition (and it is a reward, however else advocates wish to portray it), on that basis, how much more do we owe legal immigrants?
Asked by yours truly about the substantial tuition shortfall that would be generated by each additional student to receive this benefit, Attorney Mancuso stated that out-of-state tuition would pick up this shortfall.
This is false.
Before describing why it is false, we should pause to note here that, with this statement, it appears that the Board of Governors has changed their position as to the cost of this initiative and is now acknowledging that there would, indeed, be a cost attendant to it.
Now the question becomes, who would pick up this cost?
Returning to Attorney Mancuso’s statement, undoubtely, out-of-state tuition picks up a percentage of the current shortfall of in-state tuition. However, state taxpayers also pick up a substantial portion of that shortfall, demonstrating that current receipts from out-of-state tution does not remotely cover the current shortfall.
Does the BOG intends to expand one for one the number of out-of-state students who attend state colleges so as to partially defray each of the new in-state tution paying illegal alien students admitted? Presumably not.
It is safe to conclude, then, that Rhode Island taxpayers would have to pick up 100% of the cost of expanding the number of students receiving in-state tution.
It appears that, in considering and discussing this proposed new policy, for whatever reason, the Board of Governors had failed to sufficiently inform themselves as to its cost and the source of its requisite funding. Now that some of these facts have become clearer, they would be wise to reconsider implementing the policy.