Metro tuition deal for undocumented students gets NYT story

Metro started classes yesterday, with a new name -- Metropolitan State University of Denver -- as well as new buildings (including a hotel filled with art by Metro students, faculty and alums), new programs and a controversial new tuition structure for undocumented students. That Metro move earned the school a major story from the New York Times this past weekend.

That new tuition formula was adopted in June after the Colorado Legislature failed to pass a similar proposal -- and the DREAM act looked completely stalled at the federal level. It creates a second tuition level for children of illegal immigrants, higher than the amount paid by in-state students, and definitely lower than out-of-state tuition, which is what they had been paying before.

For "A College Lifts a Hurdle for Illegal Immigrants," the Times interviewed both proponents and opponents -- as well as some of the students themselves.

"Clearly, from our perspective, these are young people who were brought here of no accord of their own," Metro president Stephen Jordan told the Times. "I think what our board was saying was, 'Why wouldn't we want to provide an affordable tuition rate for these students?' So that they can get a college degree and become meaningful contributors to the economy of Colorado."

Not surprisingly, Tom Tancredo, who says he plans to file suit against the tuition plan, disagrees: "There was a proposal to allow this in the legislature. It failed. In its failure, it seems to me that a pretty strong signal was sent that you can't do this in the absence of law."

Tell that to Sarahi Hernández, who just started her sophomore year at Metro -- and now will be paying a loewr tuition. "It doesn't mean I won't have to work," she told the Times. "But it will allow me to get my dream going."

Read the entire Times story here. See how Springhill Suites, the new on-campus hotel, celebrated Metro's artists here.

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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