New tuition law may reduce the number of undocumented college students

April 13, 2011

The new Maryland law allowing some undocumented aliens to pay in-state college tuition rates may reduce rather than increase, the number of undocumented aliens in Maryland colleges ("A chance for success," April 11).

In order to gain support for the bill, a provision was added that for purposes of admission, undocumented aliens will be treated as nonresidents, even though they will pay in-state tuition rates. And that combination suggests that, in these tight economic times, undocumented aliens will be the least attractive students for college admissions officers.

Currently, about 30 percent of freshman slots in Maryland go to nonresidents. Given state cutbacks in funding colleges, the schools are maximizing the number of nonresidents they admit, precisely because they can charge them higher tuition. But that won't be the case for undocumented aliens. Colleges will be reluctant to "waste" a nonresident freshman slot if they can't charge the student out-of-state rates.

Sheldon H. Laskin

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