Immigrant tuition fight isn’t over |

Immigrant tuition fight isn’t over

by Lynn Burton
Post Independent Staff

A Colorado State House bill aimed at lowering college tuition for children of undocumented immigrants died in this year’s legislative session, but its sponsor isn’t giving up.

“I’m going to fight this over and over,” said state Rep. Val Vigil, D-Thornton. “I’m going to try to put together a broader constituency.”

Vigil’s bill, HB 1178, would have ended the mandate that children of undocumented immigrants pay out-of-state college tuition regardless of their residency.

Vigil’s bill was modeled after a similar Texas law, and was supported by the Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustees.

The tuition savings for children of undocumented immigrants in the Colorado Mountain College district would have been significant. Students who reside in-state pay $69 per credit hour at CMC, compared to $220 for out-of-state students. That comes out to $2,170 for full-time, in-state students carrying 15 credit hours per semester, versus $6,600 for out-of-state students.

Vigil said HB 1178 would have also allowed college districts such as CMC to offer in-district tuition – a deeper discount – to children of undocumented immigrants. CMC’s in-district tuition is $41 per credit hour, which translates to $1,230 per year for full-time students.

HB 1178 died in committee after three readings, and did not make it to a full house vote.

State Rep. Al White, R-Winter Park, who represents the 57th District, supported the bill. “It seemed like a reasonable idea to me,” White said.

White said opponents said the bill would cost the state money at a time when the budget is tight. White said HB 1178 would affect only 36 students currently enrolled in Colorado colleges. “So it wasn’t a huge economic issue,” he said.

Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534

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