Can Undocumented Students Convince Republicans They Deserve a Tuition Break?

April 19 2011, 8:33 AM

It's a long shot, but state Democratic lawmakers are nonetheless pushing through legislation that would allow certain undocumented students to attend state institutions of higher education as residents, thereby qualifying them for a new level of in-state tuition (Associated Press). The latest incarnation of the measure, known as ASSET (Advancing Students for a Stronger Economy Tomorrow), cleared the state Senate yesterday thanks to the chamber's united Democratic membership, which had seen splits in previous years (Education News Colorado).

The difference in this year's bill is that it doesn't permit the undocumented students to qualify for the state's College Opportunity Fund subsidy. A comparison of tuition for one year of undergraduate study at the University of Colorado at Boulder would look something like this: in-state, $8,508; out-of-state, $28,619; in-state undocumented immigrant, $10,368 (Post).

Emotions have run high around the issue, with Denver mayoral candidate Chris Romer, who sponsored a similar measure during his time in the state Senate, pointing to "the human hate on this subject" before issuing a "strong endorsement" of the bill (Colorado Independent, with video). But Republican lawmakers remain staunchly opposed (Pueblo Chieftain) and are expected to kill the bill on its arrival to the GOP-majority state House.