College presidents to discuss undocumented students

Illegal immigrants and residency verification will be discussed when University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll Davis meets with all 35 college presidents Thursday.

The agenda includes a discussion on "residency requirements," and Davis said he will talk with the presidents about how they make sure admitted students are paying the correct tuition rate.

This has become a hot-button issue since it was disclosed that Kennesaw State University erroneously charged an undocumented student in-state tuition. Illegal immigrants are allowed to attend the state's public colleges but they must be charged out-of-state tuition rates, which are at least three times as expensive.

The incident sparked debate over whether illegal immigrants should be allowed to attend Georgia's public colleges. Several gubernatorial candidates have said these students should be denied admission and a group of GOP state senators wrote to the state Board of Regents, saying such students should be barred.

The regents and Davis have said that the current policy complies with federal law and guidelines issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Most states follow the policy used in Georgia. South Carolina does bar undocumented students, while 11 other states grant them taxpayer-supported in-state tuition.

Still, the regents assembled a committee to recommend how best to verify students' residency to prevent a repeat of the situation at Kennesaw. Also, all the colleges are reviewing applications from their admitted students to ensure they are charged the correct rate.