State Sen. Teresa Ruiz, (D-29), of Newark said Monday the state is taking “a schizophrenic approach” when it comes to supporting undocumented students who choose to go to college, but are charged an out-of-state, or out-of-county tuition rate.
She asked at a Senate Budget and Appropriation Committee hearing focusing on higher education if it was fair for undocumented students – who had been financially supported by taxpayers to attend the public school system – to be charged the higher rates.
Richard McCormick, head of the New Jersey Presidents Council, said that approach is “probably not fair, but it is state law.”
He added that passage of the DREAM Act would have solved that problem. The federal legislation that focused on college enrollment and children of undocumented immigrants who were born in this country failed to be passed by Congress late last year.
The students born to undocumented aliens are also ineligible to receive financial aid.
The out-of-state tuition rates tend to be cost-prohibitive. Out-of-state tuition rates at Rutgers University, for example, are double the $11,000 in-state tuition rate, McCormick – who also is Rutgers president – said when asked.
However, Sen. Anthony Bucco, (R-25), of Boonton, pointed out earlier that the County College of Morris currently charges in-county tuition rates.
Both Ruiz and Sen. Sandra Cunningham, (D-31), of Jersey City, said the present policy prohibits promising students from getting opportunities they need.