As part of the platform for the 2012 election, Republican leaders adopted a tough package of immigration policies days before the 2,286 delegates, 2,125 alternative delegates, and the estimated 16,000 journalists arrive in Tampa, Fla. for the Republican National Convention. One of the planks included in the platform is a desire to cut off all federal funds to colleges and universities that allow undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates, reported The Chronicle of Higher Education.
If enacted, the Republican decision would most likely affect a small part of overall financial aid spending. According to the Associated Press, only about $3 billion is currently distributed directly to colleges, in a program that is known as campus-based aid. The majority of the more than $140 billion in federal grants and loans goes directly to students.
In recent weeks, financial aid for undocumented immigrants has become a flashpoint across the country. Days after President Barack Obama’s policy of deferring deportation actions against younger undocumented immigrants went into effect, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver introduced a bill granting undocumented immigrants access to state financial aid.
Obama’s decision to defer deportation for some immigrants also prompted Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant to issue an executive decision barring undocumented immigrants from receiving public benefits, including state financial aid.
Controversy has not been limited to elected officials. According to the Denver Post, Metropolitan State University in Denver has adopted a discounted tuition policy for undocumented immigrants. The new Colorado nonresident tuition rate will require undocumented students to pay $7,157 per year, which is about $3,000 more than tuition for documented Colorado residents but approximately $8,000 less than the out-of-state tuition rate, reported The New York Times.
Since the school began soliciting funds from alumni, students, and parents earlier this year, the college has been able to raise more than $300,000, which will be used to provide a $25,000 financial endowment to one student this fall, reported The Boston Globe.
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