When Will Texas Stop Discounting Tuition for Illegal Aliens?



For all of its tough talk at the border, Texas grants millions of dollars in subsidized college tuition to illegal aliens.

After two failed attempts to ban such aid, state Rep. Kyle Biedermann hopes the third time is a charm.

“Magnet policies that benefit illegal immigrants hurt citizens and those who immigrated here legally. We must remove these magnets,” the Fredericksburg Republican said.

House Bill 413 doesn’t bar illegal aliens from Texas’s public universities. Rather, Biedermann’s bill treats them the same as out-of-state students who pay the full, unsubsidized cost of tuition.

As things stand now, the tuition differential — $34,484 vs. $16,507 – costs Texas taxpayers millions of dollars annually.

The state’s universities do not disclose exact enrollment figures for illegal aliens, and estimates vary wildly from 4,320 students (2 percent of enrollment) up to 24,000. Even taking the lower figure, taxpayers finance more than $77 million in tuition discounts for illegal aliens each year.

“HB 413 will save millions of dollars that we can either return to taxpayers or use to prioritize to core functions of government,” Biedermann’s office stated in an email.

Striving to blunt opposition, Biedermann notes that high-achieving students in the state illegally “can still receive scholarships and financial aid from both public and private funding sources.”

If past is prologue, such accommodations won’t be enough to ensure passage. Though Gov. Greg Abbott has expressed concern about the current tuition break, he has yet to endorse HB 413, and none of Biedermann’s House colleagues have signed on. But the bill was just filed last week, and the Legislature doesn’t convene its biennial session until January.

Mindful of Texas’s large immigrant population – both legal and illegal – the state’s elected officials have taken resolute stands on some immigration issues while looking the other way on others.

Texas was the first state to pass a law banning sanctuary cities, and it allocates millions of dollars for border enforcement. Yet lawmakers leave the illegal job magnet intact when they refuse to require employment screenings through the federal E-Verify system.

Will the Texas Legislature continue to avert its eyes while illegal aliens use the state’s university system at taxpayer expense? How long can Republican-led Texas justify being among 20 states with border-erasing “tuition-equity” laws that cater to them?

“Whatever it is you tolerate, you’re going to get more of,” said JoAnn Fleming, executive director of Grassroots America – We The People, a conservative activist group. “If [parents of illegal aliens]want their children to get in-state tuition, maybe they should make sure they’re legal residents first.”

Texas lawmakers, take note.

About Author

avatar

Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

3 Comments

  1. avatar

    colleges should be charging foreign student rates. Their tuition should be higher or they should be denied entry if they cannot prove citizenship. TX has crazy rules about the top 10% of the class getting automatic admission to the state college of their choice. The all choose UT. My grandson had great grades, test scores and didn’t get in the first year. He, then, went to a smaller state school where he had 4.0 gpa the entire year. He got into UT and has been consistently on honor roles. Meanwhile many of those top 10% students from smaller towns have washed out. I suspect a lot of those are illegals. The rule needs to be balanced with rankings of high schools in the state. Alex attended one of the top high schools in the state but couldn’t get into UT over someone who graduated in a class of 10.

  2. avatar

    This was the brain storm of Rick Perry, and he wasn’t even wearing his new “smart glasses” at the time. Kind’a hypocritical to say you’re against “sanctuary cities” then create essentially “sanctuary state colleges” for illegals, eh? Sounds as if, when it comes to enforcing the immigration laws, Texans are All Hat – and No Cattle!

  3. avatar
    frederick bronson on

    im sorry but its our fault us Americans are to fault if we band together we can drive these illegals form our country even if we need to bury some of them we need to grow a set and get our guns out, if we stick together we go to court we can find each other no quality of even shooting one

Leave A Reply