Maryland Gears Up For Tuition Equity Battle

Maryland state senators Richard Madaleno and Victor Ramirez have a dream.

In response to the Senate failure to pass the DREAM Act last month, state senators in Maryland have decided to eliminate some of the roadblocks faced by DREAM Act-eligible students living in the state. A new bill would allow undocumented students who grew up in Maryland to pay in-state tuition at public institutions of higher education, given they meet certain conditions.

“Do we keep the best and brightest in the state of Maryland or do we decide to give up on them? And I’ve taken the initiative to say that we’re gonna keep the best and the brightest in the state of Maryland and offer them in-state tuition,” stated Ramirez in a recent interview. “They are our children, and I want to keep them.”

Currently, ten states provide in-state tuition provisions for undocumented students. A conservative California Supreme Court unanimously upheld in-state tuition for undocumented students late last year, rejecting arguments that the policy was unfair and discriminatory towards U.S. citizen students.

Madaleno noted that although states cannot grant U.S. citizenship, they can provide young undocumented residents an opportunity to continue their education beyond high school. Beneficiaries are likely to work, pay taxes, use services and raise children in Maryland. Sound public policy dictates that no one is deprived of the right to pursue higher education, since the more educated the population, the bigger the tax base.

Gov. Ehrlich vetoed a similar bill back in 2003, but the current Governor of Maryland is supportive of the measure. Lets start 2011 with tuition equity for Maryland students.

To get involved, join the Maryland DREAM Youth Committee.

Photo Credit: greatdegree

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