Lawmakers Question Metro State’s Illegal Tuition Rate
State lawmakers grilled Metro State College of Denver officials on its new tuition policy for illegal immigrants on Wednesday. Republicans on the joint budget committee are critical of the policy saying it goes against state law.
Metro State President Stephen Jordan says he disagrees with an opinion filed this week by the State Attorney General that says the tuition rate is unlawful. Jordan defended the policy saying it follows the school’s mission of educating Colorado students and students of color.
“Serving people the state has invested in, people who want to be contributors to our economy. And do it at a price where the state was not subsidizing them but they could clearly afford to go to school. Would we rather have a higher tuition rates, or would we rather have a lower rate, and actually generate more money for the institution,” says Jordan.
Joint budget committee member Kent Lambert (R-Colorado Springs) questioned the Metro board for setting such a policy when lawmakers defeated a similar bill this year that would have created a discounted tuition rate for illegal immigrants at all Colorado colleges.
“There is a question about the board setting this policy. You’re not setting rates. You’re creating a whole new category outside your authority. Does the Governor’s office support that or are they going to reverse that?”
The debate largely falls along party lines inside the capitol, but outside the building the policy has support from Republicans, including several members of the business community. Metro State says it will reexamine its policy in light of the Attorney General’s opinion.