Immigrant Tuition Debate - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Immigrant Tuition Debate

Immigrant Tuition Debate

Texas was the first state to adopt a law allowing undocumented students to pay in state tuition rates while attending public universities, now they could be the first state to repeal such a law.

Many of the undocumented students come to the United States through no choice of their own, but because their parents illegally migrated with them when they came to this country.

Fifteen years after Governor Perry signed the "Texas Dream Act" into law an undocumented students dream of earning an affordable college degree is now diminishing.

Midwestern State University saw 76 undocumented students apply to the school last year. This year MSU has already processed 28 undocumented student applications.

"So it will have an impact on our enrollment as well as other Texas Universities," said Midwestern State University Public INformation Director.

The "Texas Dream Act" requires those undocumented students earn their high school or GED, have lived in Texas for three years or more, and have a signed affidavit signed by the MSU coordinating board. If lawmakers do repeal the "Texas Dream Act" undocumented students who attend public universities like MSU could see their tuition increase by as much 10,000.

"Oh no I mean your talking about 10,000 dollars. Right now I can't even afford doing the 4,000 each semester just imagine 10, there's no possibility," said Guadalupe Marquez-Zambrano.

Even though she was not born in the U.S. Guadalupe Marquez-Zambrano grew up in Wichita Falls and is just over a month away from being the first in her family to earn a college degree. Marquez-Zambrano said that if not for the "Texas Dream Act," she and her family might never get above their current social level.

"We would be in the bottom again, I mean there is no progress I don't think that is something that the American dream is all about," said Marquez-Zambrano.

Opponents of the "Texas Dream Act" argue the law is unfair to legal U.S. citizens from other states who must pay higher out-of-state tuition rates at Texas public universities.

Supporters argue that it protects the investment Texas has already made in educating undocumented immigrant students. Since 2001, California, Illinois, Kansas, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Utah and Washington have adopted similar laws.

Jack Carney, Newschannel6

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