Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Metro State College's tuition plan for illegals could teach the country a lesson

Congress won't pass the DREAM act and the Colorado Legislature killed ASSET. But Metropolitan State College (soon to be Metropolitan State University of Denver) is ready to do the right thing for would-be students who are living here illegally, kids who were brought to this country by their parents years ago and now consider Colorado home. Their only home.

Until now, any undocumented students attending Metro have been charged out-of-state tuition -- even if they've lived in Colorado long enough to qualify as a state resident, even if they've graduated from a Colorado high school. But at 9 a.m. this morning, the nine members of Metro's board of trustees will vote on a proposal to create a new tuition category, one that would charge a qualified, undocumented student $6,716 a year in tuition -- compared to $15,985 a year for out-of-state students and $4,304 for regular in-state tuition.

Like ASSET, the proposal would prohibit any state aid or subsidies going to the undocumented students.

Unlike ASSET, this deal looks like it's going through.

The issue has been debated for a decade; in 2004, our cover story "Head of the Class" laid out the dilemma facing Pablo, a star student at West High School who was undocumented, which meant his future options were limited.

Metro started exploring the possibility of a new tuition category for undocumented students after ASSET stalled in the Colorado legislature. School officials argue that it's a wise investment in this state's future -- and they're right.

Any day now, the Supreme Court will release its decision on the Arizona law that requires police officers to verify the immigration status of anyone they stop, anyone they want to stop. But in the meantime, Metro could teach the rest of the country a lesson in how to truly make America a land of opportunity.

Will the Supreme Court uphold Arizona's SB 1070? Click to read the Michael Lacey article "America's war on Mexicans has gone too far."

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun