The New York Times reported on December 8, that the New York state education department provided an estimate to the state legislature that tuition assistance for illegal alien students would cost the taxpayers $627,428. The calculation was based on an estimate that 227 illegal alien students “…will choose to attend public colleges in New York.” Then they multiplied that number times $2,764 per student – the “…average cost per student in the state’s tuition assistance program in the last school year…”

The New York legislature should not be fooled by such low-ball estimates. The state’s higher education system already admits illegal alien students so they have no need to estimate the number.

In FAIR’s 2010 fiscal cost estimate, we estimated there are already about 875 illegal aliens in the four-year system and an additional 4,105 illegal alien students in two-year community colleges. They are already costing the state’s taxpayers more than $22 million annually. It is likely that most of those students will be from families with extremely low incomes. Thus, they would qualify for tuition assistance that is greater than the average the state education department uses. That means that using the average tuition assistance grant is doubly underestimating the likely cost of the tuition assistance proposal.