What does Republican presidential hopeful Governor Rick Perry (R-Texas) have in common with Rhode Island, one of the bluest states in the U.S.? You could probably respond to that question with a million zingy one-liners, but the real answer is no joke: in-state tuition for illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and graduated from high school.
On Sept. 27, Rhode Island education officials voted to allow high school graduates who are in the country illegally to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities.
That decision also has proved to be a hot button topic for Perry, who enacted a similar law in his home state of Texas in 2001.
On a recent campaign stop in Iowa, Perry defended his decision to support in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, saying paying less does not equal a “free ride” for illegals pursuing an education.
That may be true, but that doesn’t make it fair.
What about American-born citizens who wish to attend college out-of- state? Outstate tuition prices are astronomical, oftentimes doubling or even tripling their in-state counterparts.
If an Oklahoman wanted to go to school at the University of Rhode Island, for instance, we would be shelling out about $25,000 per semester as a full-time student.
Rhode Island residents and illegal immigrants, however, would have to pay less than half of that: about $10,000 for the same schooling period.
It is ridiculous and sad to think that an illegal immigrant, may have only lived in this country for a few years could attend college for less than someone who has lived in the U.S. their entire life.
Going to college is nothing more than a distant dream for many Americans.
There are countless people who work more jobs than they should have to and apply for every scholarship that comes their way, but still they are unable to attend school.
To make it so easy for an illegal immigrant to obtain is a slap in the face to those people.
That is not to say that those here illegally should be denied schooling altogether. They should absolutely be allowed to attend college in the U.S. — for nonresidential fees.
After all, an American citizen going to college abroad wouldn’t be able to go to school for the same cost as a native — and that is how it should be.
Many illegal immigrants come to this country in search of something better, and that is admirable.
But they should have to work for their success, not have it handed to them on a golden platter while the rest of us have to go panning.
To contact Whitney Knight,