Study: In-state tuition for RI non-citizens would raise revenue

By Claire Peracchio

Allowing undocumented immigrants to get in-state tuition at Rhode Island’s public colleges would increase non-citizen enrollment by 31% and actually make money for the schools, according to a comprehensive recent study of the issue.

The study, conducted by the nonpartisan Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University, examines what may happen if the Board of Governors of Higher Education approves the policy change at its meeting tonight. The change would take effect in the fall of 2012 if it gets approved.

The study [pdf] found that granting illegal immigrants in-state tuition would cause a small increase in the number of non-citizens attending state public colleges and universities — 24 additional students on top of the 74 full-time undocumented students currently studying at the URI, RIC and CCRI, for a total of 98.

The study also predicted that the policy change would reduce the number of undocumented Latino high school dropouts by 14%, resulting in 71 additional high school graduates each year. The high school dropout rate among Latinos is the highest in the state, at nearly one in four.

More surprisingly, the institution said those benefits would come at no cost to Rhode Island taxpayers, based on an analysis of nine previous studies on the effects of in-state tuition around the country.

In fact, the study said granting non-citizens in-state tuition would generate approximately $162,000 in additional revenue for public colleges and universities each year. That estimate does not account for the economic benefits of the students’ increased earnings potential or the income tax revenue they would generate, said Kimberly Mehlman-Orozco, director of the institute.

The study also played down a major criticism of the proposed change – that non-citizens would take admissions spots from citizens. Administrators told researchers that the only instance in which non-citizens could displace citizen applicants is in highly competitive programs, like nursing.

But, in terms of general admission to these institutions, “there is no tweaking of admissions seats, so you won’t see anybody denied admission because of any increase in non-citizens being enrolled at these institutions,” Mehlman-Orozco said.

Board of Governors spokesman Michael Trainor agreed, adding that because applicants are admitted based on whether they meet certain minimum qualifications, “if a citizen student doesn’t get in, it’s because of his or her own record.”

Thirteen states have passed laws allowing undocumented students to receive in-state tuition since 2001, including Texas and Connecticut, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures; one – Wisconsin – revoked it this year. But Rhode Island would be the first to implement the change through policy rather than legislation.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee swung his support behind the policy change on Sunday – just days after as Texas Gov. Rick Perry came under fire in a Republican primary debate for taking the same position.

Claire Peracchio is a student at Brown University and a intern.

(photo: Rhode Island College)

19 thoughts on “Study: In-state tuition for RI non-citizens would raise revenue

  1. This is so wrong on so many levels. They are putting illegals over and above legal taxpaying citizens. I hope they rethink this nonsense….as we legal citizens are about at out breaking point.

  2. These are pretty iffy results. Their point seems to be that the decrease in cost for current illegal alien students would be made up by the additional income of new illegal immigrants that would not have otherwise applied. This only works, however, if the enrollment of the school in question is allowed to increase beyond what it otherwise would have been. If the enrollment at (let’s say) URI is going to be exactly 16,000 students, then the new enrollees have to be displacing someone, either an out-of-state student who would have been paying more or a legal in-state student (which means no additional income, and might be considered objectionable regardless).

    But I don’t know enough about how the state’s public colleges decide how many students to accept. If I had to guess, I could see this being a net benefit to CCRI, but the others are less likely.

    • And yes, I know it said in the article that “applicants are admitted based on whether they meet certain minimum qualifications,” but I don’t see how that makes sense, given the existence of waiting lists.

  3. Raising revenue for the schools using taxpayer money. And??

    Brown is the same place that pays no taxes and their school funding math sent millions extra to Providence so Providence would get off their back about paying ANYTHING.

    ICE needs to implement a $100 bounty for illegals. It would help the unemployment while at the same time helping to eliminate illegals. A win win all around.

  4. Is the intent to educate an illegal so that they can more easily take a job from a US citizen, or, to send them back so that they can help improve life in their own country?

    Can we at least demand a commitment of “public service” in the form that their intent is to go back to help improve the lives of their own people for some period of time? That might make a pathway to US citizenship at some point AFTER they have given something back.

    However, this may be beyond the “non partisan” thinking of the liberals who have taken over RWU.

  5. “‘there is no tweaking of admissions seats, so you won’t see anybody denied admission because of any increase in non-citizens being enrolled at these institutions,’ Mehlman-Orozco said.”

    Now, why don’t I believe that?

    • ““‘there is no tweaking of admissions seats, so you won’t see anybody denied admission because of any increase in non-citizens being enrolled at these institutions,’ Mehlman-Orozco said.”

      –that is such BS! These Illegal Aliens going to school on the cheap will interfer with LEGAL PAYING college students in getting to sign-up for the nesessary courses they need to fulfill their degree programs.

  6. “Study: In-state tuition for RI non-citizens would raise revenue”

    Really? I feel that if we allow a “discount” to illegal aliens to go to college, other illegal aliens will be flocking to RI=more illegals living in our state, resulting in more crime, more foriegn families living on the dole (increasing RI debt!) and it will help knock out paying students to get into the classes they need to fulfill their degree requirements.

    How about giving LEGAL residents of RI a break on tuition if they plan on going to a RI school? Wouldn’t that make sense? I guess not–I love CCRI, Ric is the 5 year school and know soooo many that graduate there and can’t get nothing but work at day cares or retail shops and URI-PLEASE!-I certainly don’t want to be known as going to the “party school”–and Roger Williams is nothing but a “High cost” party school with the same nasty reputation–just ask anyone that lives near those snot-nosed kids in Bristol where they blast music until 2am every morning–I should know I lived in one of those crappy neighborhoods and finally moved out!…..So, I’ve chosen to go to a quality MA school, and, most likely will work and move to MA when I’m done.

    Thanks, Chaffee, for slapping your LEGAL residents in the face and ALIENATING us! Oh, thanks again for passing this law and listening to the TRUE VOTING citizens that opposed this law by 80%!


  7. I’m concerned that the real issue has been missed. URI and other state school are giving advantage to non-resident illegals over tax paying legal residents from other states. DAH? Isn.t there a bunch of laws being broken here. Cops can’t ask a person if they have id’s, on looks alone, but we can push out of state legal US residents, out and make them pay more money so we can so illegals first choice. I smell a class action suite for prejudice. Illeagals vers US citizens.
    Easy. Good luck Stupid RI.

    • This “law” is also a slap in the face of BORN LEGALLY students that live in CT or MA and are attending a RI college–since out of state tuition is almost doubled–But out of country, illegal aliens don’t have to pay the almost doubled costs? Yeah, that’s fair! Chafee’s a total idiot. Whomever voted this guy in are also idiots! Chafee and Obama are the death of RI and the USA!

      • In California, they want to pass a law that students applying MUST put on their if the are White, Black, Hispanic, etc. and use that data to figure out if they will accept them as students or not. This would be bad either way–omitting qualified whites to go to school to fill quoatas and/or trickle down other ethnics–need more blacks than hispanics, more hispanics then asian, etc.

        Where is this “Equal Opportunity” for education?

  8. There is a way to fight back. Do not support your state colleges. Cancel your alumni membership. Don’t go to games. Cancel all your advertising no matter how small. No donations to alumni club or activities. No support at all. Vote down any bonds. Could work. If you wish you can send that money to an organization that supports leagl immigrants


    RI gov considers licenses for illegals
    —Says move would help get people to school, work

    WHAT? “help get poeple to work?” What jobs? It will help them compete with LEGAL CITIZENS trying to get work that are unemployed–on top of giving these ILLEGAL ALIENS a break on College TUITION and interferring with LEGAL STUDENTS signing up for the classes they need to fulfill their diploma requirements.

    Wait another hour–I am sure he will make it OK for ILLEGAL ALIENS in vote in RI–For he’ll need their votes to get re-elected with all the perks he wants to give them!

  10. i think thats is a good oportunity to let illegal kids attend to scholl .because this is the only opportunity they have in they live ,some these kisd came whrn they was 5 years old so they dont have anything to do about what they famyli did.they dont take americans job ,they doing what americans people dont doing.Also we pay then to clean are house are office and landscapes ,because are sons want to slep late or too busy on computer play games or are daughter is shopping at moll.

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