Oregon House of Representatives passed House Bill 2787, 38 – 18, on Friday, which would grant in-state tuition for undocumented student’s who have attended school in the country for at least five years, studied at an Oregon high school for at least three years and graduated, and show intention to become a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. To show intent, a copy of the student’s application for the federal deferred action program, the DREAM Act, or a statement of intent that the student will seek citizenship as permitted under federal law would be required. Students will also be required to apply for a federal individual taxpayer identification number or a similar federal identification number. House Bill 2787 would also require an annual report from the Oregon University System detailing the number of students who applied and were accepted under the program, as well as their financial impact. The bill now goes to the Senate, which has approved similar bills in 2003 and 2011, with a promise from Governor John Kitzhaber to sign it. Supporters emphasized tuition equity as an economic and education issue that will help the state meet its education goals and allow talented children, raised in Oregon, to contribute to the state’s economy. An alternative version of the bill was proposed by House Republican’s that would have let the bill expire in 2016, limited tuition equity to undocumented immigrants who are in the U.S. by July 1st, and stricter guidelines on how students would demonstrate they intend to be lawful citizens. According to a fiscal impact statement on the bill, if the program becomes law, approximately 38 students are expected to utilize the program from 2013 – 2015, with another 80 students expected to benefit the following two years. The statement also says these students could contribute $1.9 million to the state in in-state tuition payments over the next four years (http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/02/oregon_house_passes_tuition_eq_1.html).
$1.9 million to the state in tuition appears beneficial; however, I would like to know how much this program will cost the state, if at all, and what the actual amount of income would be after subtracting these costs. Do you see House Bill 2787 as an economic and educational benefit to Oregon, one that will help the state meet its educational goals and benefit the state’s economy?
I do not see a problem with the proposal of having stricter guidelines on how students demonstrate they intend to become a lawful citizen, a simple letter of intent does not seem adequate enough when trying to show intent. What do you think? Do you believe that the guidelines for the bill were appropriate or do you think that there should be stricter guidelines than those passed in the bill?