Undocumented immigrants should be eligible for in-state tuition

Editor:

A recent letter to the editor of The Daily Utah Chronicle disparaged those who support and advocate in-state or resident college tuition for children of undocumented workers and described them as “evil” (“Those who don’t oppose illegal immigration are evil,” Jan. 24).

The university fully stands behind the law in supporting in-state college tuition for these students. Current law allows these students to pay in-state tuition, as it does every other Utah student who is admitted to the U, as long as he or she has met eligibility requirements, which include having attended a Utah high school for three years and graduated.

Under these guidelines, students must qualify for the U and pay in-state tuition, just like all other incoming Utah students.

Students who do not meet these eligibility requirements must currently pay out-of-state tuition but can become eligible for in-state tuition after they have lived in Utah for two years or have taken 60 credit hours at the U. In fact, repealing state law as it now stands will not affect the status of out-of-state students. They still must pay out-of-state rates, abiding by state policy.

The university supports pro-education initiatives, such as “Utahns for the American Dream,” because it believes in the potential of all students. We recognize that Utah’s greatest asset is a well-educated, productive population.

Children of undocumented workers in Utah will likely stay in the state. Therefore, it is in Utah’s best interest that they be educated and productive.

As we face this new century of demographic shifts in Utah, it is essential that forward-thinking people consider this growth, future labor force needs and strategies to nurture a professionally skilled labor force.

We are a nation of immigrants, which has enriched and strengthened American culture. The university stands by its commitment to all Utah children. Without in-state tuition eligibility, children of undocumented parents have the door to higher education effectively closed.

Professor Theresa A. MartinezAssociate Dean of Undergraduate Studies, OutreachCo-Chair, Utahns for the American Dream

Fred C. EsplinVice President for University Relations andInterim Vice President for Institutional Advancement