Should the children of undocumented families be denied the in-state tuition rate to attend a state college? We're not even talking scholarships, just the chance to pay the same lowered rate as documented state residents. In The City Paper, Joey Garrison raises the question yet again with a particularly troubling story:
Diploma in hand, Johnny Garcia walked off the stage at McGavock High School’s graduation and left behind a sparkling academic record. A 3.8 grade point average placed him in the top 10 percent of his senior class, earning him the title “distinguished scholar” from Metro. ...
But classroom success carried no meaning in his search to find affordable, in-state tuition to continue his education. Not in Tennessee.
Garcia, born in Mexico, arrived in the United States when he was 4. His residency in this country was unauthorized, however, and he became one of the estimated 70,000 undocumented students nationwide who graduate annually.
In Tennessee, undocumented students like him are not eligible for the state’s in-state tuition at public universities. Lacking this financial tool makes the cost of higher education three times higher, he said, a price tag out of reach for him and other immigrant students.
“It’s an investment that we’ve made and that the government has made to help go to K-12 education,” Garcia said. “And then when it comes to the end, that’s it. It’s like those 13 years were just a waste. We went through the school system, only to not be able to afford to go to college.”
So what does the state of Tennessee gain by denying Garcia that discounted rate?