Metro State Approves Tuition Discount For Illegal Immigrants

New Rate Takes Effect This Fall

Metropolitan State College of Denver trustees voted Thursday to cut tuition for illegal immigrants by more than half.

The trustees voted 7-1 to accept the recommendation.

Before the vote, trustees took public comment.

"You are leading where the legislature has so far, not," said State Sen. Pat Stedman. "What you are doing by offering this opportunity and making this tuition affordable is going to offer them [students] the opportunity for a brighter future which is what this institution is all about."

While most of the speakers were in favor of the proposal, one graduate of the college spoke out against the plan.

Joe Farber said while he was outnumbered, if Metro State gave illegal immigrants a discount on tuition, he would not be happy.

"We need to let the university be the light of truth and not political correctness," Farber said.

Students who want to take advantage of the discount would have to prove they are high school graduates, have lived in the state for at least three years, and prove that they are seeking legal status.

Out-of-state students and illegal immigrants currently pay the full tuition price of $7,992.60. In-state tuition is $2,896.20. The rate for illegal immigrants will be $3,358.30 per semester.

Claudia Trejo told 7NEWS reporter Amanda Kost, "Before this vote, college was a step too far away from me. But now that this vote has happened, I'm able to come and I'm able to afford it."

Colorado lawmakers rejected a similar proposal earlier this year. Democratic legislators said immigrant students deserve a chance to continue their education at an affordable rate because the state has spent money educating them in the K-12 system. Opponents questioned whether the bill encouraged illegal behavior, instead of punishing it.

Thirteen states -- including Texas, California, Illinois and Connecticut -- have passed legislation granting in-state tuition for immigrant students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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