Education chief calls for tuition clarification
DENVER – Higher education chief David Skaggs thinks children of illegal immigrants should be eligible for in-state college tuition if they are U.S. citizens, and he’s asked the state attorney general to clarify what the current law says.Public colleges and universities are interpreting the law differently.Based on an attorney general’s opinion from five years ago, Metropolitan State College of Denver charges nonresident tuition to children of illegal immigrants. However, such students pay in-state tuition at the University of Colorado based on the advice of its lawyers, spokesman Bronson Hilliard said.Attorney General John Suthers’ office is looking at whether children of illegal immigrants who are citizens themselves qualify for in-state tuition, spokesman Nate Strauch said Friday. At issue are students who are under 23 and still claimed as financial dependents by their parents.The opinion, expected in a few weeks, will not address students who are here illegally themselves.If Suthers finds that the law bars in-state tuition for these students, Skaggs said he will ask the Legislature change it.Skaggs said that all students from Colorado who are citizens should be treated the same, regardless of their parents’ legal status.”These are students who typically have graduated from Colorado high schools and are qualified and encouraged to continue their education,” Skaggs said Friday.”I suggest that we will all be better off if they achieve the highest level of education of which they are capable and so are in a position to be productive, tax-paying citizens,” he said.Former state Rep. Val Vigil, D-Thornton, unsuccessfully tried three times to pass a law to allow children of illegal immigrants to qualify for in-state tuition. No efforts have moved ahead since 2006, when the Legislature focused on cracking down on illegal immigration.