In-State Tuition for Illegal Immigrants but not Vets

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GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
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In-State Tuition for Illegal Immigrants but not Vets

Should illegal immigrants pay lower tuition than our own military veterans?

The University of North Carolina, which is currently considering giving illegal immigrants in-state tuition benefits, denied an Army sergeant the same break even though she owns a home in the Tar Heel state and only moved away briefly because the military stationed her husband in Texas.

Hayleigh Perez, 26, hoped to use her G.I. Bill to attend the UNC?s Pembroke campus near Fort Bragg, but the young veteran ? who served a 14-month tour in Iraq ? was told she did not qualify as a state resident because she had been gone for about three years.

?I got frustrated. When I tried to inquire, they kept putting up roadblocks,? Perez told FoxNews.com. ?It?s just disgraceful that life in Iraq, where you could die, is easier than trying to go to school here.?

Perez enlisted in 2005, and was stationed in Fort Bragg before shipping out to Camp Bucca in Iraq. That's where she met her husband and fellow soldier, Jose Perez-Rodriguez. The pair married and, when their tours ended in 2006, bought their home in Raeford, N.C. They lived there until 2009, when Jose Perez-Rodriguez was assigned to a base in Texas. But they continued paying the mortgage and taxes on the North Carolina property while she accompanied him on his deployment for six months, and Perez has been in North Carolina for the past two years, she said.

Perez was honorably discharged in September 2009, and, after giving birth to daughter Calleigh, and sought to build a post-military career. When her husband won a transfer back to Fort Bragg to rejoin his family, Perez started applying to colleges in the area in hopes of pursuing a master's degree as a physician's assistant. She told FoxNews.com she was accepted to both UNC?s Fayetteville and Pembroke branches and chose Pembroke. But Perez was shocked when UNC-Pembroke officials told her she was not considered an in-state resident, even though the Fayetteville branch said she was. The G.I. Bill Perez hoped to use for school does not cover out-of-state tuition.

"I just figured I could appeal the decision," Perez said. "I thought it would be easy.?

But Perez said the appeal process consisted of appearing before a 15-member panel at the school's vice chancellor?s office, where her request was denied. She said she later learned that the denial was based on the fact that she had not paid income tax in North Carolina in the years in which she was in Iraq and Texas.

?The process was demeaning. They [Pembroke] treated me so poorly I felt like I was a criminal on trial,? she said. ?They told me I couldn?t reapply.?

Sgt. Jason Thigpen, founder and president of the Student Veterans Advocacy Group, which is helping Perez make an appeal to the school, said nearly 250,000 other student veterans nationwide have been forced to pay out-of-pocket while using their G.I. Bill due to "adverse and short-sighted changes our federal government made.?

Adding insult to injury, says Thigpen, is the fact the UNC is currently considering granting in-state tuition benefits to illegal immigrants at all 16 of its branches, including Pembroke.

?In North Carolina alone there are more than 5,000 student veterans facing such hardship, while the state [may grant] in-state residency for tuition purposes to illegal immigrants," he said. "That's not the deal we signed up for when joining the military, and surely isn't what was intended in the 1940s when [the G.I. Bill program] began,? he added.

Officials from the university did not immediately return a request for comment on Tuesday as they were scheduled to meet with Perez.

Perez, who started an Internet petition that has garnered support from across the country with nearly 120,000 signatures in just five days, and the Students Veterans Advocacy group intend to sue both the school and the federal government if the school's decision is not reversed.

?It?s so much larger. This isn?t just about me. It?s for every veteran hitting these roadblocks,? Perez said.

No matter what happens, Perez said she won't be attending UNC-Pembroke.

"I?m now attending a private college," she said, declining to name the school. "I don?t want to be associated with an institution that treats veterans this way.?

Read more: University of North Carolina denies Iraq vet in-state tuition as it mulls giving break to illegals | Fox News

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3183

I'm not sure what the connection is to illegal immigrants. She has a legitimate issue but it has nothing to do with illegal immigrants or some policy that may be under consideration.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

What's the problem? If she doesn't qualify as a state resident, then she doesn't deserve the in-state tuition rate, veteran or not. I have no problem with illegal immigrants getting the in-state tuition rate if they can prove residency to the same extent as everyone else. Simply living in the state doesn't establish legal residency. They look at all kinds of things, which state you files your taxes in, which state your car is registered in, which state issued your driver's license, where you bank, etc. I find it hard to believe that the only reason is because she didn't pay state income taxes between 3 & 5 years ago; there surely must be more evidence against her than that.

In California active military personnel who are stationed in California can qualify for an in-state tuition waiver for the one-year period it takes to establish legal residency, and returning military personnel can qualify for in-state tuition if they were a legal CA resident before their military service and return to CA immediately upon discharge. If you don't establish or re-establish legal CA residency within one year, then you are liable for the difference betweeen in-state and out-of-state tuition. Perhaps NC needs to adopt a similar guideline.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

I'm not sure what the connection is to illegal immigrants. She has a legitimate issue but it has nothing to do with illegal immigrants or some policy that may be under consideration.

"Spacers" wrote:

What's the problem? If she doesn't qualify as a state resident, then she doesn't deserve the in-state tuition rate, veteran or not. I have no problem with illegal immigrants getting the in-state tuition rate if they can prove residency to the same extent as everyone else. Simply living in the state doesn't establish legal residency. They look at all kinds of things, which state you files your taxes in, which state your car is registered in, which state issued your driver's license, where you bank, etc. I find it hard to believe that the only reason is because she didn't pay state income taxes between 3 & 5 years ago; there surely must be more evidence against her than that.

In California active military personnel who are stationed in California can qualify for an in-state tuition waiver for the one-year period it takes to establish legal residency, and returning military personnel can qualify for in-state tuition if they were a legal CA resident before their military service and return to CA immediately upon discharge. If you don't establish or re-establish legal CA residency within one year, then you are liable for the difference betweeen in-state and out-of-state tuition. Perhaps NC needs to adopt a similar guideline.

I agree with both of these.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

Can someone help me with something so I can clarify a response. How does an illegal resident declare legal in state residency?

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"Jessica80" wrote:

Can someone help me with something so I can clarify a response. How does an illegal resident declare legal in state residency?

Not sure how they do it everywhere, but at a college here in CO (Metro State University) they have to have graduated from a CO high school and attended several (I think 3) years at a CO high school (proving through their school records that they have been here for at least 3 years.)

I think it depends on the school though (like in CO, it is not a statewide policy, it is up to the school to decide.) The reason I think this is that Metro only just recently started offering reduced rate tutition to illegal immigrants, and it is a big controversy. As per usual, Tom Tancredo and his bunch are all up in arms because like 100 kids who were brought to this country as minors are actually able to afford to get an education per the college's decision. The nerve of that college, thinking they can make their own policies about their own pricing!

ETA: Here is an article about it:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/20/metropolitan-state-univer_n_1812382.html?utm_hp_ref=college&ir=College

Per the article, here are the full qualifications, and I guess it is still more expensive than true in-state tution, but a lot less than traditional out of state tuition:

In June, the college's board of trustees voted to lower the out-of-state $7,992 per semester tuition rate to $3,358.30 per semester for undocumented, Colorado-educated students. In order to qualify, an undocumented student had to have attended an in-state high school for at least three years, have graduated from a Colorado high school or received a G.E.D., be in good legal standing aside from their undocumented status and prove that they plan to seek lawful status. In-state students currently pay $2,152 per semester.

Not that I can see the connection between this vet and this lowered tuition for illegal immigrants, but as a Coloradoan I think this policy is a great thing. It helps kids who are here through no fault of their own, encourages them to get "legal" and helps them to get an education to become productive members of society. I'm liking what they're laying down. Tom Tancredo is a tool.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

I think she's full of crap, but it's also crap that they'd expect her to pay out of state tuition if other's who have no right to attend the college in the first place get in state tuition. I would bet she changed her legal residency to Texas since most military members stationed there do it (*since you don't pay income taxes) and now she wants the best of both worlds. Not cool and not cool to pretend like they don't warn you about that when you are changing your state of residency.

It's another debate but I think it's bull**** that illegal immigrants get in state tuition in the first place. I would bet they get grant and scholarship money too. Ridiculous.

eta-*If I got out right now, I'd be a Mississippi Resident and would have to pay MS income taxes because that's where we live and my husbands home of record and residency are North Carolina. If we moved to Texas, he'd have to change his residency to Texas for me to get to keep my Texas status when we moved out. My income and his wouldn't be taxed, but the next state we moved to we'd lose out on in-state tuition unless they specifically had a clause for active duty or dependants.

I have a feeling they are both Texas "residents" and haven't had to pay Norht Carolina state taxes in forever (they are freaking *RIDICULOUS* so I understand not wanting to).

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

I think there must be more to it. If her husband is stationed there now, there shouldn't have been a problem.

In-State Tuition
Spouses of service members on active duty for a period of more than 30 days are now eligible to receive in-state tuition at public colleges and universities in the state where they reside or are permanently stationed. Once a spouse is enrolled and paying in-state tuition, they will continue to pay the in-state tuition rate as long as they remain continuously enrolled at the institution, even if the service member is reassigned outside the state.

This change in federal law is a tremendous help to military spouses, who often face paying out-of-state tuition rates to further their education. The new requirement benefiting military spouses was included in the Higher Education Opportunity Act (H.R. 4137), under section 135, and was signed into law on August 14, 2008. This new law extends the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), and applies to all public institutions that receive funds under the HEA program.*

The Department of Education has worked with the institutions of higher education and is confident they are aware of the changes in the law and are fully implementing the policy.* However, if military spouses have any difficulties establishing in-state tuition status, they should contact the offices of financial aid, registrar, or Veterans Affairs at the institution. If these steps do not resolve the situation, military spouses should contact the Department of Education’s Ombudsman’s office (toll-free at 877-557-2575) or fill out an online Ombudsman Assistance Request Form at: Getting Prepared Before Seeking Help | Federal Student Aid.

When XDH was in the military, his home of record was MO. Although I had never lived in MO, i was considered a resisdentfor in-state tuition purposes when he was discharged.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

I'm saying I think they are both "Texas" residents. You don't have to give it up when you move. They probably didn't want to pay North Carolina Income taxes. I don't know why you were considered a resident of MO for resident purposes but that was nice of them.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

"wlillie" wrote:

I'm saying I think they are both "Texas" residents. You don't have to give it up when you move. They probably didn't want to pay North Carolina Income taxes. I don't know why you were considered a resident of MO for resident purposes but that was nice of them.

Because that was DH's home of record. When we got married, I became a MO resident for purposes of tuition. This isn't something new. It doesn't matter if they are TX residents if he is permanently stationed in NC.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

Because that was DH's home of record. When we got married, I became a MO resident for purposes of tuition. This isn't something new. It doesn't matter if they are TX residents if he is permanently stationed in NC.

That hasn't happened for any of the other spouses I know. That's why I said it was nice of them. And there is nothing in the federal law that says that dependants don't have to pay out of state if they aren't residents of the state (since there is nothing called permanently stationed in the military). It's up to each individual state. I'm guessing since I know how much my husband pays a year in state taxes on top of property taxes and a sales tax that gets added to his state income tax yearly, they aren't very military friendly. Wink

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

"wlillie" wrote:

It's another debate but I think it's bull**** that illegal immigrants get in state tuition in the first place. I would bet they get grant and scholarship money too. Ridiculous.

Why should they *not* get in-state tuition when they are residents of a state? Why penalize them because their parents brought them here as little kids?

And I don't know about other schools but, with the exception of a few scholarships & grants specifically targeting legal international students, my university only offered scholarships and grants to students who went through the Federal Student Aid application process. If you didn't have a FAFSA on record, you didn't qualify for anything else. I really don't see a lot of places clammering to offer free money to illegal immigrants; offering a stepping stone to a better future is different than offering a handout.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"Spacers" wrote:

Why should they *not* get in-state tuition when they are residents of a state? Why penalize them because their parents brought them here as little kids?

Agreed. I also think that encouraging them to get their legal status and get education/training serves our communities far better than keeping them in the shadows without good opportunities.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

"wlillie" wrote:

That hasn't happened for any of the other spouses I know. That's why I said it was nice of them. And there is nothing in the federal law that says that dependants don't have to pay out of state if they aren't residents of the state (since there is nothing called permanently stationed in the military). It's up to each individual state. I'm guessing since I know how much my husband pays a year in state taxes on top of property taxes and a sales tax that gets added to his state income tax yearly, they aren't very military friendly. Wink

The Military Benefit. Under a special provision of North Carolina and federal law requires that non-resident active duty military personnel and their eligible family members be charged in-state tuition. If you are a member of the Armed Forces who is on active duty, or the spouse, dependent child or dependent relative of a member of the Armed Forces who is on active duty, you may qualify for the in-state tuition rate. This benefit applies to individuals in the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, and reserve units of these military groups, among others. If you believe this provision applies to you, please complete the Residence Status Supplemental Form for Members of the Armed Services and Their Dependent Relatives. If additional information is needed, your admissions office may contact you.Residency - Office of the University Registrar

Yes, there is. It is federal law that if you are a dependent of someone who is active duty military, you are eligible for in-state tuition in the state where they are stationed or their domicile.

SEC. 114. IN-STATE TUITION RATES FOR ARMED FORCES MEMBERS,
SPOUSES, AND DEPENDENT CHILDREN.
Part C of title I (20 U.S.C. 1015) is further amended by adding
after section 134 (as added by section 113 of this Act) the following:
??SEC. 135. IN-STATE TUITION RATES FOR MEMBERS OF THE ARMED
FORCES ON ACTIVE DUTY, SPOUSES, AND DEPENDENT
CHILDREN.
??(a) REQUIREMENT.?In the case of a member of the armed
forces who is on active duty for a period of more than 30 days
and whose domicile or permanent duty station is in a State that
receives assistance under this Act, such State shall not charge
such member (or the spouse or dependent child of such member)
tuition for attendance at a public institution of higher education
in the State at a rate that is greater than the rate charged for
residents of the State.
??(b) CONTINUATION.?If a member of the armed forces (or the
spouse or dependent child of a member) pays tuition at a public
institution of higher education in a State at a rate determined
by subsection (a), the provisions of subsection Angel shall continue
to apply to such member, spouse, or dependent while continuously
enrolled at that institution, notwithstanding a subsequent change
in the permanent duty station of the member to a location outside
the State.
??(c) EFFECTIVE DATE.?This section shall take effect at each
public institution of higher education in a State that receives assistance
under this Act for the first period of enrollment at such
institution that begins after July 1, 2009.
??(d) DEFINITIONS.?In this section, the terms ?armed forces?
and ?active duty for a period of more than 30 days? have the
meanings given those terms in section 101 of title 10, United
States Code.??.

For my XDH, MO was his domicile. He never gave up residency in that state. As a military dependent, that made me eligible for in-state tuition in MO.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

Oh. I thought you guys were divorced before 2009. Sorry!

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

The article was updated; the proposal to allow illegal immigrants was rejected.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

"Spacers" wrote:

Why should they *not* get in-state tuition when they are residents of a state? Why penalize them because their parents brought them here as little kids?

And I don't know about other schools but, with the exception of a few scholarships & grants specifically targeting legal international students, my university only offered scholarships and grants to students who went through the Federal Student Aid application process. If you didn't have a FAFSA on record, you didn't qualify for anything else. I really don't see a lot of places clammering to offer free money to illegal immigrants; offering a stepping stone to a better future is different than offering a handout.

Why should they not be penalized? Why penalize kids whose parents raised them in a different state? Same difference except one is an illegal action and the other is a legal one.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

"wlillie" wrote:

That hasn't happened for any of the other spouses I know. That's why I said it was nice of them. And there is nothing in the federal law that says that dependants don't have to pay out of state if they aren't residents of the state (since there is nothing called permanently stationed in the military). It's up to each individual state. I'm guessing since I know how much my husband pays a year in state taxes on top of property taxes and a sales tax that gets added to his state income tax yearly, they aren't very military friendly. Wink

"wlillie" wrote:

Oh. I thought you guys were divorced before 2009. Sorry!

Then why word it in the present-tense? If your military friends are being denied that benefit, they should follow up on it. "Permanent duty station" is the term used in the fed. law. That's the point though - since there is no permanency in the military, there would never be a way to establish residency for purposes of in-state tuition.

Yep. He got out in 1997. All it took was a little research and persistence. Perhaps states with more military bases and personnel addressed the issue long before the federal government because both MO and CA had laws back in the mid 90s. (Don't know prior to that because it didn't effect me.)

The HEA is reauthorized every 5 years. The HEOA was the 2008 reauthorization.

To the woman in the article, it seems like she went the route that she was a resident because she owned a home in NC and a vet rather than citing her status as a dependent of someone stationed in NC.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"wlillie" wrote:

Why should they not be penalized? Why penalize kids whose parents raised them in a different state? Same difference except one is an illegal action and the other is a legal one.

A kid raised in another state can get in state tuition: in their state where they were raised.

You may not like it, but the kids of illegal immigrants who are graduating here are already here, and for many of them it's the only home they know. DH worked with a ton of "illegal" kids when he worked for the Adams County school district, and many of them had been here since they were little and completely considered the US their home, like any kid who had been raised here would. I don't know what you think a better solution would be - keeping them from opportunities so that they live here in poverty, making them that much more likely to get involved in criminal activities since they literally have no access to legal opportunities? Taking a kid who has lived here since he was 3 and ripping him away from everything he knows and sending him to live in a country that he doesn't even remember? Don't you think he'll try to come back to get back to his life that he knows? Wouldn't you? I think putting programs in place so that these kids have a way to get legal status and become high functioning members of society is a waayyy better solution for everybody (including our community.)

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

I just think they should have to contribute before they get the same benefits as those who are legally here. I think it's ridiculous to pretend like the illegal action of their parents shouldn't affect their tuition rates in the same way as the legal actions of an out-of-state parent. Why on Earth should they be able to get the education they want cheaper than someone born a few miles in a different direction despite the fact that they aren't even here legally? That's why we have such a huge immigration problem. People pretend like these kids are being raised to be contributing citizens and most of them aren't. If their parents were the kind of people to make good choices, they would have started the paperwork the 15 years their kids have been here. Send them back or get them to do the paperwork and pay the fees, we have enough problems with the bad choices people make that are legally here.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"wlillie" wrote:

I just think they should have to contribute before they get the same benefits as those who are legally here. I think it's ridiculous to pretend like the illegal action of their parents shouldn't affect their tuition rates in the same way as the legal actions of an out-of-state parent. Why on Earth should they be able to get the education they want cheaper than someone born a few miles in a different direction despite the fact that they aren't even here legally? That's why we have such a huge immigration problem. People pretend like these kids are being raised to be contributing citizens and most of them aren't. If their parents were the kind of people to make good choices, they would have started the paperwork the 15 years their kids have been here. Send them back or get them to do the paperwork and pay the fees, we have enough problems with the bad choices people make that are legally here.

At least at Metro here in Denver, they have to prove that they are working on getting their citizenship in order to get the cheaper tuition. Also, the fact that they are trying to go to college says to me that they are trying to become contributing citizens, no matter what their parents are doing or have done.

Joined: 05/23/12
Posts: 680

I can not really tell what the true story is here, but there are two issues going on.

I believe there should be a law mandating all military to be declared in any state a resident of that state for tuition purposes. Military are shipped all over at any time, therefore, their colplege tuition should be alwways considered instate. This is such a bizaare struggle for our military to face.

The whole inmigration issue is a separate issue, which is at minimum complex. I would like to see our legal residents having access to benefits before illegals. In my mind, i think one of the qualifications of being a lawful resident of any State is to first be a lawful resident of this country.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

"myyams" wrote:

I can not really tell what the true story is here, but there are two issues going on.

I believe there should be a law mandating all military to be declared in any state a resident of that state for tuition purposes. Military are shipped all over at any time, therefore, their colplege tuition should be alwways considered instate. This is such a bizaare struggle for our military to face.

The whole inmigration issue is a separate issue, which is at minimum complex. I would like to see our legal residents having access to benefits before illegals. In my mind, i think one of the qualifications of being a lawful resident of any State is to first be a lawful resident of this country.

there is

Joined: 05/23/12
Posts: 680

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

there is

Then i cannot understand why there was a denial of state tuition or any issue at all. And everyone i am so sorry for living in typo land. I can hardly manage on the ipad. My computer is broken.