The anti-immigrant Republicans desperate to place all manner of restrictions on services for undocumented residents have been sure the state has been secretly providing in-state college tuition to undocumented students. A figure of 1,700 has been thrown around by the red-hots for the number of “illegals” getting a tuition break.
The State Department of Higher Education today gave a report on the numbers to the lead immigrant basher, state Rep. Justin Harris (the taxpayer-financed church pre-school operator from West Fork who gets taxpayer money for at least a dozen children who’ve yet to prove their citizenship. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Except the hypocrisy.)
Surprise. If I read the chart correctly, the labor-intensive study turned up eight students who might have received in-state tuition contrary to Gov. Mike Beebe’s orders that all be denied this fair benefit for kids who are Arkansas residents. All were at two-year schools and seven of the eight appeared to be the result of coding errors. The other was a hazy case. They’ll be shaken down for the proper remittances, I presume. Another 90 students benefitted from concurrent enrollment programs offered through the high schools they attend. Under federal law, high school students can’t be checked for citizenship and, as high school students, are not official students of the college even if concurrently enrolled, a Higher Ed spokesman explained.
In other words, this was a big nothing and a waste of time putting on a witch hunt through the more than 3,400 students schooled in Arkansas for whom proper Social Security number information had been lacking when first checked on the governor’s orders. They are mostly legitimate foreign students. Some of them were U.S. citizens who hadn’t provided the numbers. About 250 undocumented students — presumably true “illegals” — were paying out-of-state tuition to attend college, many in the state in which they grew up, where their parents paid taxes and where they graduated from high school. Land-of-Opportunity-to-get-gouged-for-college costs, you might say.