Lyons Files Bill to Give In-State Tuition to Legal Residents Only

The move is a response to a recent directive issued by the governor to provide in-state tuition eligibility to some immigrants.

Just who should pay in-state tuition has been a controversial issue in Massachusetts, and two Republican state representatives are making their voices heard.

State Rep. Jim Lyons of Andover and State Rep. Marc Lombardo of Billerica have filed legislation to reserve subsidized in-state college tuition for citizens and legal residents of Massachusetts.

"This is an issue of fundamental fairness," Lyons said in a statement. "Our taxpaying citizens are working hard to play by the rules. Those who follow the rules should not be forced to subsidize those who break the rules."

HD2038, the "Lyons-Lombardo bill," aims at undoing an order by Gov. Deval Patrick in November to allow some illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition benefits. 

"Working families are having a difficult enough time in this slowed-down economy," Lyons said. "They should not be burdened with subsidizing higher education for anyone who refuses to abide by residency and citizenship requirements."

But Patrick's directive extends in-state tuition rates only to illegal immigrants who qualify for a work permit through the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation has actually expressed support for Patrick's directive, citing their 2011 study that estimated that "between 315 and 365 illegal immigrants would enroll in the state’s public institutions if they were eligible for in-state rates. Overall, the study predicted that the granting of in-state rates would be a net financial gain for the commonwealth."

Marie Arm January 22, 2013 at 05:43 PM
Is it free?
Neil January 22, 2013 at 05:53 PM
These are kids who've lived in Mass. and gone to Mass. public schools with our kids. The take the same classes and play on the same sports teams. They have grown up American. They are kids who did not have a choice when their parents immigrated illegally to the USA. We've already done the right thing by giving them the opportunity for an excellent K-12 education. Here in MA we have the second best K-12 public education in the country. If in-state tuition is the difference between 365 of these young qualified students getting a college education or not getting a college education, and we know it would be a "net financial gain for the commonwealth" for them to get a college education, the decision is clear. We should give them the in-state tuition like other Mass. high school graduates. Education is a the best ladder to a middle class job. A strong middle class is the key to a strong economy and a strong democracy. It's time to rebuild this country student by student. But we can't stop there. How can we make a public university education more affordable to all Mass citizens?
MikeA January 22, 2013 at 06:30 PM
Neil - this is a much better argument than imaginary "net financial gains" and ending up on welfare because you were denied in-state tuition. What about the kids whose parents weren't able to illegally immigrate? Why aren't they eligible? Shouldn't we be as compassionate? And if you give these kids in-state tuition, why not kids from, say, New Hampshire? Taken to its conclusion, you have to offer in-state tuition to everyone to be fair.
Christopher R. Cook January 22, 2013 at 07:19 PM
thats between 315-365 AMERICAN citizens who now will not have a spot at state universities....how again is this fair secondly...something tells me if they are illegal immigrants they prob arent exactly the highest wage earners...and may not even file income taxes...which means when they fill out a FAFSA...they will be plugging zeros in and then will be eligible for grants and need based aid....meaning it wont be a net gain for the commonwealth as their in state tuition and fees will be subsidized by someone else
Bob Samson January 22, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Finally some sanity


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