Rescinding in-state tuition privileges sets us back as a state



February 26, 2015 - 12:00 AM

If saving money is the goal, rescinding in-state tuition for undocumented college students is not the answer.
Currently, Kansas allows in-state tuition rates for students who have attended Kansas high schools for a minimum of several years.
These college-bound youths make for superior employees and leaders in industry.
Drastically raising their tuition would be a disincentive for them not only to attend college, but also to become productive citizens of Kansas.
So what’s the logic?
Because they’re “illegal” and shouldn’t be here in the first place, goes the narrow-minded thinking.
By and large these students are in the United States through no choice of their own. They came as children with parents seeking a better life in the “land of opportunity.”
They were enrolled in public schools, who through their very nature do not make a distinction between legal and non-legal citizens.
Public schools are here for the education of all children.
“There’s no asterisk beside a student’s name that says he’s here illegally, and thus, supposedly, says he should not be receiving an education that prepares him for either a career or college,” said Mark Tallman of the Kansas Association of School Boards.
“We are held accountable for the success of all students.”
And once our taxes have already gone to see these children succeed in school, it makes no sense to thwart their pursuit of a higher education if that is their dream.
If anything, we should applaud these students who have come from disadvantaged situations for wanting to better themselves.

STATISTICS help prove the point that making these students pay out-of-state tuition will not gain the state any money. In fact it’s a money-losing proposition.
Currently 651 such students take advantage of in-state rates to attend either a technical college, a community college or a university.
Average expenses for these students — tuition, books, fees, room and board — is $11,251.
If forced to pay out-of-state tuition, that would mean an additional $2.4 million.
Trouble is, in testimony before legislators, not a one of these students could afford the out-of-state tuition, which is frequently three to four times the rate of in-state tuition.
So in essence, denying these 651 students in-state tuition means they will not attend college, period, creating a net loss in both human capital and dollars and cents.
Our goal as a state is to get better, be better. To get there, we must act better.
— Susan Lynn

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