The Metropolitan State College of Denver recently decided to offer a special rate to undocumented students effective this fall -- a rate that is 150 percent of the resident in-state tuition -- provided students meet a series of conditions, including attending for at least three years, and graduating from, a Colorado high school. But Fox's Neil Cavuto, who repeatedly slurred these students as "illegals," and the Daily Caller's Michelle Fields argued that they are being treated better than American students.
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Denver College: Mission Is To "Provid[e] Affordable, Accessible Education To All Qualified Students"
MSCD: "We Don't Deny Students An Opportunity To Get An Education At The K-12 Level, So Why Would We Continue To Create Barriers At The Higher Education Level." From a Metropolitan State College of Denver official press release:
Metropolitan State College of Denver's Board of Trustees voted at its June 7 meeting to approve the 2012-13 tuition rates for its resident and non-resident students, including the creation of an unsubsidized tuition category: Colorado High School/GED Tuition Rate. Under state law, Metro State has the authority to set tuition rates.
This special rate is for students living in the state of Colorado who through no fault of their own do not have the lawful status to be eligible for resident tuition rates. The new unsubsidized full-time rate of $3,358.30 per semester is 150 percent of tuition paid by an in-state resident plus a 10 percent fee for capital contributions. No state public benefit or subsidy will be used for this special undocumented tuition rate.
"This initiative speaks to Metro State's mission as an urban institution by providing affordable, accessible education to all qualified students," says Metro State President Stephen Jordan. "We don't deny students an opportunity to get an education at the K-12 level, so why would we continue to create barriers at the higher education level." [MSCD Press Release, 6/7/12]
Undocumented Students Wishing To Attend MSCD Under Special Rate Have To Meet Several Criteria
Among Other Things, Undocumented Students Must Provide Proof They Plan To Seek Lawful Status To Be Eligible For Reduced Tuition Rate. According to Metro State's press release, undocumented students must meet three criteria to qualify for the special tuition rate:
To be eligible for the unsubsidized tuition rate, students must meet the following criteria, beyond the existing admissions requirements: 1) attended a Colorado high school for at least three years 2) graduated from a Colorado high school or received a general equivalency diploma (GED) in this state, and 3) provides a statement that they are in good legal standing, other than their undocumented or unclassified status, and are seeking or intend to seek lawful status when eligible. [MSCD Press Release, 6/7/12]
Reduced Tuition Rate Is 150 Percent Of In-State Tuition
Undocumented Students At MSCD Will Pay 150 Percent Of In-State Tuition. As The Denver Post reported, eligible undocumented students will still pay over $1,200 more per semester than in-state students: "The new rate, which will go into effect this fall, is $3,358 per semester, which is higher than in-state students, who pay $2,152, and lower than out-of-staters, who pay $7,992." [The Denver Post, 6/8/12]
Undocumented Students Will Also Pay A 10 Percent Fee On Top Of Tuition. According to MSCD's press release:
The new unsubsidized full-time rate of $3,358.30 per semester is 150 percent of tuition paid by an in-state resident plus a 10 percent fee for capital contributions. No state public benefit or subsidy will be used for this special undocumented tuition rate. [MSCD Press Release, 6/7/12]
Only Two Percent Of MSCD Students Are From Out Of State. According to the Metropolitan State College of Denver Fact Sheet, 98 percent of MSCD's 24,000 students are in-state. In fact, 93 percent of MSCD students come from the Denver metro area. [MSCD State Legislative District Breakdown, accessed 6/11/12; MSCD Fact Sheet, accessed 6/11/12]
Colorado Law Generally Permits State Colleges To Dictate Tuition Rates
In 2010, The Colorado Legislature Confirmed That An Institution's Governing Body Can Set Tuition Rates. Under S.B. 10-003: Concerning Higher Education Flexibility to Improve the Financial Position of State Institutions of Higher Education, each institution's governing body can set tuition rates. The Colorado Commission on Higher Education described the law as such:
A central component of the legislation was the loosening of the prior restrictions on the governing boards' ability to increase tuition for resident undergraduate students. Instead of long bill footnotes determining tuition policy each year, governing boards are given statutory authority to raise tuition rates for resident undergraduate students. [Colorado Commission on Higher Education, 12/10]
MSCD Has The Authority To Set Their Own Tuition Rates. As the chair of MSCD's board of trustees explained, referring to 2010's S.B. 10-003, "The fact is, we have the statutory power to set our own tuition. In 2010, Colorado's legislature reaffirmed the authority of public institutions of higher education to establish tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students." [Denver Post, 6/10/12]
But Cavuto, Fields Distorted The Facts To Accuse College Of Giving Preferential Treatment To Undocumented Students
Fields: "What The School Is Saying Is That ... We're Going To Treat [Undocumented Students] Better Than" Lawful Latino Residents. On Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, the Daily Caller's Michelle Fields said:
FIELDS: So Metro State College has decided to give a reduced rate of about 50 percent to illegal immigrants, and they claim that this is all part of reaching out to the Latino community, to the Hispanic community. But, you know, if anything, this is a slap in the face to Latinos like my mother, my family, and others who have spent so much time, hard work and hassle trying to become American citizens. Because what the school is saying is that, not only are we going to reward those who enter this country illegally, but we're going to treat them better than you. [Fox News, Your World, 6/11/12]
Fields: "A Lot Of Republicans Are Saying That This Violates Federal Law." From the Your World segment:
CAVUTO: What I don't understand is publicizing it. This would almost be like Denny's having a - broadcasting on their sign outside: Half-off for illegals. It sounds, at first blush, beyond stupid.
FIELDS: Yeah, and a lot of Republicans are saying that this violates federal law because the law prohibits state colleges and universities from providing resident-based college rates to legal immigrants, unless they provide those rates to U.S. citizens, as well. So this is most likely going to go to court.
CAVUTO: But they don't. And now, if you are an out-of-state resident, I can understand you are going to pay more, but, you know, not a heck of a lot more. So, the question, then, comes down to, offering special privileges for folks who, you know, no matter where you stand on this issue, legally, shouldn't be here. [Fox News, Your World, 6/11/12]
Cavuto's Reasons For Denying Undocumented Students Special Rate: "They're Illegal. That's Why. They're Illegal." From the segment:
FIELDS: Illegal immigrants who live in Colorado, they're going to pay about $7,000 per year for school, while American citizens who live outside of Colorado are going to pay almost $16,000. And honestly, we have so many young people who are struggling right now to pay for college, why not reduce the tuition rates for them? Because they can legally work here once they get their degree.
CAVUTO: Well, what's the appeal behind saying, [unintelligible] for illegals there is this big discount?
FIELDS: Well, they're trying to reach out to the Hispanic community, because if they do have a certain amount, a certain percentage of Hispanics they get more grants from the federal government. So that's their way of reaching out to them.
CAVUTO: Illegal or - Whether they're illegal or not. Because the college responded in a statement, they refer to their press release saying, 'We do not deny students an opportunity to get an education at the K-12 level, so why would we continue to create barriers at the higher education level.' That's coming from the president of the Metro State College of Denver, Stephen Jordan. Well, I guess I would start with, whether K-12 or post, you know, high school, they're illegal. That's why. They're illegal.
FIELDS: Exactly. And it's incentivizing people to come here illegally. And you're treating them - they're treating them better than American citizens who live outside of Colorado. It's absurd. [Fox News, Your World, 6/11/12]
American Students Receive Numerous Benefits Unavailable To Undocumented Students
American Students Are Eligible For Federal And State Loans. As a citizen, a student may apply for FAFSA loans from the federal government, and the College Opportunity Fund, a Colorado state loan opportunity. Undocumented students are not able to take advantage of these opportunities. [MSCD.edu, accessed 6/11/12]
Any Out-Of-State Student Who Is A Citizen Or Legal Resident Can Establish In-State Status After Living In Colorado For At Least 12 Months. According to MSCD's website:
Q.How long must I live in Colorado before I can be granted in-state tuition rates?
A .An in-state student is defined as an individual who has been domiciled (physical presence and intent) in Colorado for the 12 continuous months or more immediately preceding the first day of the semester in which you enroll.
Q. Can I establish in-state status while I am a student?
A. Yes, but the mere fact that you are a student, part-time or full-time, is not sufficient evidence to change your classification. You must still demonstrate your physical presence and intent, as defined earlier, before you can be classified as an in-state student. [MSCD.edu, accessed 6/11/12]
MSCD Is One Of Many Colleges To Offer Special Rate To Undocumented Students
Undocumented Students Can Receive In-State Tuition Rates At Public Institutions In 12 States. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of October 2011, 12 states allow undocumented students who meet certain eligibility requirements to receive in-state tuition rates at public postsecondary establishments:
Currently, 12 states have laws allowing undocumented students who meet specific requirements to receive in-state tuition rates at public postsecondary institutions. In all, since 2001, 13 states have enacted such legislation (Wisconsin has revoked its law). In addition, Rhode Island's Board of Governors for Higher Education passed a policy that permits eligible undocumented students to pay in-state tuition. [NCSL, 10/11]
In 2011, At Least 12 States Introduced Bills To Allow Undocumented Students Access To In-State Tuition Rates. According to the Colorado Asset:
During the 2010 legislative session, five states considered eight bills that would have allowed undocumented students to receive in-state tuition rates. None of those measures passed. In the 2011 legislative session, at least 12 states (Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Oregon, and Rhode Island) have introduced 19 bills that would allow undocumented students to receive in-state tuition rates. [Colorado Asset, accessed 6/11/12]
Fox Has Long History Of Attacking Efforts To Make College Affordable For Undocumented Students
Fox & Friends: "Illegal Discount." Teasing a segment about a California law allowing some undocumented students access to in-state tuition rates, a Fox & Friends graphic read: "Illegal Discount." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 11/18/10, via Media Matters]
Shannon Bream On CA Law: "Your Tax Money Could Soon Go To Educating Illegals." Guest anchor Shannon Bream used the slur "illegals" during the November 18, 2010, edition of America Live about the California law allowing some undocumented students access to in-state tuition rates, saying: "Some of your tax money could soon go to education illegals instead of Americans." [Fox News, America Live, 11/18/10, via Media Matters]
Steve Doocy Made Up Scenario To Argue Against Granting Some Undocumented Students Resident Tuition Rates At NJ College. On the March 17, 2011, edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy presented an invented scenario of returning veterans who might be displaced by undocumented immigrants at a college in New Jersey to argue against allowing them to enroll at in-county residential rates. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/17/11, via Media Matters]
Alisyn Camerota: CA Law Allowing Some Undocumented Students Access To In-State Tuition Rates Is "Flawed." On June 7, 2011, guest host of America's Newsroom Alisyn Camerota said that a law that granted access to in-state tuition rates to undocumented students meeting certain conditions, which was unanimously upheld by the California Supreme Court, "seems as though" it is "flawed in a few ways." [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 6/7/11, via Media Matters]
Gretchen Carlson Outrageously Inflated Number Of Undocumented Students Attending University Of California. During the June 9, 2011, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Fox's Gretchen Carlson claimed "about 35 percent of the in-state tuition" students during 2009 were undocumented immigrants. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 6/9/11, via Media Matters]
Fox Promoted Conservative Texas Students' Opposition To Texas DREAM Act. A pair of conservative college students appeared on Fox & Friends to promote a campaign to repeal the Texas DREAM Act, which granted in-state tuition to certain undocumented students that reside in Texas. Fox Nation later promoted their appearance on Fox & Friends. [Fox Nation, 10/17/11, via Media Matters]
Bill O'Reilly: "You Know What's Heartless? Taking My Tax Money When I'm Struggling And Giving It To People Who Shouldn't Be Here." During an October 25, 2011, interview with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Bill O'Reilly said during a discussion about Perry's debate comments concerning immigration: "A lot of conservatives said, You know what's heartless? Taking my tax money when I'm struggling and giving it to people who shouldn't be here." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 10/25/11 via Media Matters]