Minnesota’s Brilliant Plan: Free College for Illegal Immigrants
Under a new program, illegal immigrants will soon be eligible for free college tuition in Minnesota.
The program, called the “North Star Promise,” is part of a new bill that passed the Minnesota House and Senate this week.
The bill would essentially make college tuition free for low-income students, with a few stipulations, provided the student’s family makes less than $80,000 a year and is a resident of Minnesota. Residency requires graduating high school or living in the state for an entire year. US Citizenship is not a requirement, allowing those in the country illegally to access the program.
According to the Daily Wire, the free tuition program is estimated to cost taxpayers roughly $117 million for the first year. The program will cost $49.5 million every year following that.
State Senator Omar Fateh, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Higher Education Committee, spoke on his support for the bill.
“We want to make sure that when we’re expanding opportunities for everybody, we’re doing it for all Minnesotans, regardless of background, regardless of their documentation status….We’ve been seeing declining enrollment on all campuses. If we don’t do something quick, we’re at risk of shutting down some campuses. I see this bill as an enrollment driver.”
Republicans have complained of being “frozen out” of discussions regarding the bill as well. In contrast, others have argued that the 80,000-a-year cut-off punishes hard-working students holding down multiple jobs who may break that limit, despite desperately needing the aid.
The program has also raised concerns about incentivizing illegal immigration, exacerbating the ongoing border crisis following the revocation of the Trump-era Title 42.
Republican Senator Zach Duckworth, who sits on the Senate’s Higher Education Committee, released this statement outlining his opposition to the bill.
“Our focus should always be on students and their needs while providing them access to the maximum higher education opportunities possible. This bill will increase student debt, does not adequately address student safety, and will not solve the declining enrollment that Minnesota colleges and universities have been experiencing. Rather than help students by reducing tuition rates across the board at as many schools as possible, it will instead lead to higher tuition rates for thousands of students while limiting their options.”
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