CMU has no plans to charge in-state tuition for students lacking U.S. citizenship
Students at the University of Michigan are fighting for what they have dubbed “tuition equality.”
David Morales, a freshman from Detroit, has lived in Michigan his entire life, but he was born in Mexico and is not a legal resident of the United States. Because of this, he is charged out-of-state tuition at U-M.
Morales co-founded the Coalition for Tuition Equality, a student group pushing to get in-state tuition for students who live in the state but do not have U.S. citizenship or a green card.
They want U-M to charge in-state tuition for anyone who can prove they completed at least two years of high school and earned a diploma from a high school in Michigan or a certificate recognizing the completion of a GED testing service.
“We just want tuition equality,” Morales recently told the Detroit Free Press.
Betty Wagner, director of admissions, said Central Michigan University has the same policies as U-M for students like Morales.
“That student would be considered out-of-state for tuition purposes (at CMU),” Wagner said. “We would do nothing special for that student.”
The Coalition for Tuition Equality has caught the attention of the U-M Board of Regents, which asked Provost Phil Hanlon to report to the board on the possibility of offering in-state tuition to these students, the Detroit Free Press reported. A report was not issued at the regents’ Thursday meeting.
While most schools in Michigan charge undocumented students the out-of-state rate, the Free Press reported, Western Michigan University charges in-state rates for anyone who can prove they live in Michigan. Wayne State University does not ask students to provide documentation, and the president of Saginaw Valley State University can approve waivers to allow the children of migrant workers to receive in-state tuition.
CMU students voiced several different opinions on the issue.
“I don’t know why they shouldn’t have in-state (tuition) if they have lived in Michigan their whole lives,” Saline freshman Hannah Hagood said. “Isn’t that the point of in-state tuition?”
Jiebing Wang, a graduate student from China, agreed with Hagood.
“They should get the benefits (of in-state tuition), because they live in the state and pay the taxes,” Wang said. “It’s different than international students. We don’t pay as many taxes here.”
Farmington Hills junior Violet Serra disagreed.
“They are here illegally. They should have to pay the higher rate,” Serra said. “They get the benefits of living here without being here in a legal manner.”
The issue was not as simple to Grand Rapids sophomore Shane Gilligan.
“I don’t think illegal immigrants should receive all the rights of citizens, but this is different than rights,” he said. “I don’t know where I stand.”
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