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Undocumented students [Illegals] will pay in-state tuition

Undocumented students will pay in-state tuition

Chronicle Staff Report Friday, October 12, 2001

Gov. Gray Davis signed a bill yesterday to allow undocumented immigrants attending state colleges and universities to pay in-state tuition and to give them the right to state financial aid.

They have been paying the out-of-state rate, which is three to four times the resident price.

Davis vetoed a similar bill last year because the federal Immigration Act of 1996 requires the state to give any benefits extended to undocumented immigrants to every other student in the United States. This year's bill, AB540, sponsored by Assemblyman Marco Firebaugh, D-Los Angeles, limited the benefits to any student who graduated from and attended a California high school for at least three years.

Critics say subsidizing a college education will encourage more undocumented immigrants to come to California.

But Firebaugh has said that the students are Californians and should be given the opportunity for an education so that they end up as productive members of society. In addition, he said, many of the estimated 5,800 to 7,450 students who would benefit from the proposed law come from families where some relatives are legal immigrants or even U.S. citizens paying taxes into state coffers.