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Plotting a higher-ed path in Mass. for undocumented students

A view of the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Many reasons why lawmakers should pass in-state tuition bill

There are many reasons the Legislature should advance the Senate’s proposal for in-state tuition eligibility at public colleges and universities for students without legal immigration status.

First, many of them indeed have lived here most of their lives.

Second, many surely hope or intend to stay here and become citizens.

Third, the Commonwealth is not footing the bill for their tuition. They would still have to come up with the money to attend post-high school institutions.

Fourth, their money would help increase the revenue of the schools they attend.

Fifth, the effect on the state budget would be minimal.


Finally, and perhaps most important, in the long run this kind of policy can help do away with some of the ethnic and racial inequities that continue to plague the Commonwealth as well as the rest of the country.

Samuel A. Oppenheim


Three-year residency requirement poses a major hurdle for many

Absolutely, it is about time to provide undocumented Massachusetts residents the opportunity to attend public colleges charging in-state tuition (“Give in-state college tuition to undocumented immigrants,” Editorial, May 20). However, a three-year residency requirement would prove to be an insurmountable obstacle to many. Instead, the Senate proposal should use the already established Massachusetts residency requirements (more than 183 days) and/or a diploma from a Massachusetts high school or its equivalent.

I am founder and president of a Rhode Island public school scholarship fund. In 2011, that state enacted a law with similar residency requirements. The reality is that undocumented Rhode Island high school graduates who do not meet the three-year residency requirement rarely enroll in public colleges. Out-of-state tuition is way too high.

With declining enrollments at public colleges and the need for many more skilled employees, the proposed Massachusetts measure is still a missed opportunity.

Jane Bermont