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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Bill To End In-State Tuition For Undocumented Immigrants In Texas Is A Step Closer To A Vote

Posted By on Tue, Apr 7, 2015 at 11:30 AM

click image State Senator Donna Campbell, in blue, says Texas should end in-state tuition for some undocumented immigrants. - SENATOR DONNA CAMPBELL
  • Senator Donna Campbell
  • State Senator Donna Campbell, in blue, says Texas should end in-state tuition for some undocumented immigrants.

Even former governor Rick Perry supported in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants.

But according to State Senator Donna Campbell, enough is enough. After ten-plus hours of testimony from witnesses at the Capitol yesterday — most supported the 2001 law — Campbell took to Facebook to further explain why she wants to do away with in-state tuition for some undocumented immigrants: 

We have helped a generation of undocumented students who were already here through no fault of their own. They have moved through our school system. Having served them, it's time to end the 14 yr policy of providing an increasing pot of state grant money and in-state tuition benefits for those unlawfully present in this country. Passing SB 1819 will ensure that we are not rewarding illegal immigration in perpetuity, but instead fostering a legal immigration system where following the law — not breaking it — is honored.

Witnesses overwhelmingly supported keeping the current law in place. Of 176 witnesses, only five supported Campbell's bill, according to the Texas Tribune.

One reason is higher education institutions will probably lose out on revenue.

A fiscal note accompanying Campbell's bill notes that 20,049 students in fiscal year 2012 and 24,770 for fiscal year 2013 qualified for in-state tuition under rule, according to numbers provided by the Higher Education Coordinating Board. That resulted in $17.9 million and $21.1 million in revenue for public universities, public community, technical and state colleges, along with public health institutions.

Nonresident tuition this year in Texas averages out to $19,070 and residents pay an average of $7,973 at public universities. At community colleges, the average nonresident rate if $5,416 compared to $2,449 for residents.

"It is assumed that institutions of higher education may see some tuition losses from students who do not continue their education due to these increased tuition costs. The extent of savings from General Revenue formula funding would depend on each affected student's decision to pay these increased tuition costs, the demand for higher education from other students not currently enrolled, and the level of state support for formula funding," according to the fiscal note.

The bill's next stop is the Veterans Affairs and Military Institutions committee. 


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