Should state open all its colleges to children of illegal immigrants?

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Should state open all its colleges to children of illegal immigrants?

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While 27 states have passed DREAM acts creating tuition equity policies for immigrant students, Georgia is not among them. Undocumented students here pay out-of-state tuition at the campuses they are allowed to attend. (AP Photo)

Georgia produces too few college graduates, a problem recognized by the governor and the new chancellor of higher education. In fact, Gov. Nathan Deal has set a goal of increasing college graduates in the next few years under the Complete College Georgia program.

A University of Georgia professor emeritus has a solution, but one that is politically charged: Change the state law that limits where children of illegal immigrants can attend college in Georgia and stop charging them out-of-state tuition.

“There are several thousand students who have attended K-12 schools in Georgia, who have resided here most of their lives, whose families pay taxes, and who are eager and ready to attend our universities, colleges, and technical institutions. They are un(der)documented immigrants, under documented because many of them do have documentation such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status, both federal programs deeming immigrants lawfully present in the U.S.,” says JoBeth Allen, a professor emeritus in the University of Georgia department of language and literacy education and co-director of U-Lead Athens, which supports equal access to higher education for students of immigrant families.

To read more of Allen’s essay, go to the AJC Get Schooled blog.

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