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  • Oregon's “Tuition Equity” Bill Holds a Hidden Agenda

    2/12/2013 5:02:33 PM Posted by Kate Edwards

    By: Gabriella Morrongiello

    The quickest way to befriend a child is to hand them candy. Want to assure a permanent life-long supporter of liberal policies? Hand out government subsidized programs. That's exactly the motive behind the "Tuition Equity" bill that has been adopted in many states and is now coming before the newly left-winged majority legislature of Oregon.

    What so many fail to ask when advocating government handouts such as food stamps, housing vouchers, health care or reduced college tuition for children of illegal immigrants is: at whose expense will these programs be covered?

    In the case of Oregon House Bill 2787, which proposes allowing children of illegal immigrants residing in Oregon to benefit from in-state tuition at publicly-funded universities, it is my mother and father who will shoulder the financial burden.

    I am a sophomore at Oregon State and one of the 8,906 out-of-state students currently attending the university. Compared to an Oregon resident who pays roughly $8,000 annually in tuition, my parents foot a $22,000 bill each year. My tuition is substantially higher to help compensate the Oregon taxpayer for the use of the bricks and mortar, the cost of faculty and administrator salaries, pensions and benefits, and maintenance and upkeep of the campus grounds.

    Illegal immigrants whose children attend Oregon high schools are not paying taxes to cover the expenses for Oregon public universities either. If these individuals wish to have their child attend an Oregon university, I believe they ought to pay out-of-state tuition just as my parents do.

    The parents of these children, who entered this country illegally, are either being paid their wages in cash, as part of the "underground economy," or by check from employers who are not withholding the income taxes they must take from legitimate, legal workers. Additionally, their children are attending public grade schools and high schools that are paid for by property and state income taxes of legal residents.

    What is "fair and equitable" about that?

    People break the laws of the United States when they immigrate to our country illegally. The children these individuals bring with them become a financial burden to the community in which they reside with impunity. This is not to say these children are at fault; many are excellent citizens that work hard academically and in their community. That however, is irrelevant. As an out-of-state student, I do all that I can to help lessen the financial burden my parents reap because of my choice to attend college outside of California. I wait tables, am a paid reporter for my campus newspaper, and must keep an exemplary GPA to earn and maintain an $8,000 tuition reduction. Nevertheless, it is still my parents who shoulder the greatest cost.

    I don't believe my hard-working, self-employed parents should face increasing tuition hikes to cover the certainty of burgeoning expenses at my university due to sky rocketing enrollment of "Tuition Equity" students. As availability becomes more affordable, enrollment and the need for more faculty, administrators, bricks and mortar will increase. This will all be at a cost to the Oregon tax payer.

    Shifting the cost for the child of an illegal immigrant to attend college to me and my parents is not tuition equity, but rather confiscation and redistribution. These high school students can do exactly as I have done: get multiple jobs, work exceptionally hard in school, and if need be, take longer than some to graduate. This legislation is about giving candy to a child, and future voter, to befriend them. It is about giving government mandated "goodies" to young, largely Hispanic future voters most likely to support the liberal agenda. It sickens me to watch the theft and manipulation of law-abiding Americans by politicians to feed their political agendas.

    This legislation is a veiled attempt to create a permanent voting block indebted to one political party for yet another government hand out.

     

    Gabriella Morrongiello is a sophomore at Oregon State University, and chairman of the OSU Young Americans for Freedom

     

    • Readers' Comments

    • Great article!
      Posted by Dan on 02/13/2013
    • Bravo Gabriella! You tackled this sensitive subject better than many well seasoned journalists have.
      Posted by Spicy Mexican Salsa on 02/13/2013
    • I was impressed by your essay, but not persuaded. (1) Your intro claims that pandering to...well, someone...is "exactly the motive behind the 'Tuition Equity' bill." You don't quite say who that someone is. Do you mean to claim that Dems pander to Latino voters, or just to the handful of students who will be eligible for in-state tuition under the bill? The closest you come to a clear account is near the end of your essay, where you write "This legislation is about giving candy to a child, and future voter, to befriend them. It is about giving government mandated 'goodies' to young, largely Hispanic future voters most likely to support the liberal agenda." This introduces a new ambiguity, though. While earlier you suggested that Tuition Equity was a ploy to convert (future?) voters to liberalism, here you suggest that it's a reward for those likely to support "the liberal agenda" irrespective of the bill. (2) Whatever exactly you intended by that first claim, you give exactly no argument for it. No evidence, no analysis beyond a simple metaphor supports your claim about the motives of those who support Tuition Equity. Although I grew up in Oregon, I don't follow my home state's politics too closely, so I can't speak with any authority on this myself. However, I can tell you that when California (your home state and my adopted state) passed a stronger Tuition Equity bill twelve and a half years ago, business interests here overwhelmingly supported it as a work-force development project. It's also likely that at least some who support the Oregon bill do so for precisely there stated reasons, equity, work-force development, etc. (Incidentally, would you decry GOP attempts to woo Latino voters as handing out candy? If so, I think that we can look forward to many articles from you in advance of the 2014 elections.) (3) You mischaracterize the bill as "allowing children of illegal immigrants residing in Oregon to benefit from in-state tuition at publicly-funded universities." You must know that only a small percentage of such children meet the actual criteria laid out in the bill. (4) You assert that out-of-state tuition will be increased to finance Tuition Equity, but you offer no evidence for this. Do you mean simply that money is fungible, and so that any money paid by any person to OSU can be understood to support Tuition Equity? Then your claim is perfectly trivial. Unless you have evidence that out-of-state tuition is specifically linked to the Tuition Equity in some way, Oregon taxpayers are footing the lion's share of this bill, and appropriately it is their representative in both houses who will determine whether it passes. At one point you seem to recognize this, ending one paragraph, "This will all be at a cost to the Oregon tax payer." You begin the next paragraph, though, "Shifting the cost for the child of an illegal immigrant to attend college to me and my parents is not tuition equity, but rather confiscation and redistribution." (5) It's unseemly for an out-of-state student who has voluntarily enrolled at OSU, and who claims to be receiving generous tuition assistance from Oregon taxpayers to complain that Oregon is confiscating her tuition dollars. Likewise, unsupported use of terms like " burgeoning expenses" and "sky rocketing enrollment" doesn't strengthen your argument, but highlights it weakness. Best, Michael
      Posted by Michael Schwartz on 02/24/2013
    • Michael, all you've done is critize her article, but you have not offer one iota of proof as to why illegal ailen children should get a tuition break. Federal law already requires that states that offer education benefits to illegal aliens are supposed to do the same to citizens of other states REGARDLESS OF RESIDENCY. Illegal alien "children" are also NOT able to work legally in the United States except through DACA which is of doubtful legality itself and which confers on them no route to legal status. And of course, if the sponsors of this bill were concened about "tuition equity", they'd be offering the same tuition rates to everyone, including citizens of other states and foreign students. What these advocates are seeking to do is to include illegal aliens among those who get the preferred rate.
      Posted by on 02/26/2013
    • Gabriella is correct, this bill is Tuition INequality. Not only with Americans, but also with legal foreign students. Foreigners who break the law will be rewarded for doing so, while those who obey the law are penalized. Not only is that grossly unfair, it will also stimulate much more law breaking. Apparently the supporters of this law think we need more law breaking foreigners, both the illegal alien parents and the students after they turn 18.
      Posted by John Bowman on 02/26/2013
    • Excellent article. As one who has fought for years against illegal immigration and all its attendent ills, it's good to hear from a member of the age group that will have to scramble harder for the opportunities we all knew when we were younger, before illegal immigration flooded the country. You are the voice our politicians and other American students need to hear, as they seem to be convinced we are simply xenophobes.
      Posted by Lyneil on 02/26/2013
    • The egalitarians at work again. Be aware that what these public servants backed by the left in Oregon, will accmplish, is a transfer of power to the "illegal foreign national"and away from the citizens of Oregon. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED OREGONIANS. Just keep falling, Oregonians, for the so called leftist "equality" racket, and you soon won't have any. In California, the illegal foreign nationals, have all the rights to the resources and services that California citizens paid into for years, but cannot now access. In fact, illegal foreign nationals in California, especially those from Mexico who are the greatest number of people illegally in the state, can even access all of the citizens paid for resources, in Spanish. Good luck kiddies, Oregons "leaders" are clearly interested in "redistributing" your rights to those who should not even be in Oregon. California is now a satelite of Mexico, Oregon is next on the list of the "Equalitarians".
      Posted by Bobby on 02/26/2013
    • The egalitarians at work again. Be aware that what these public servants backed by the left in Oregon, will accmplish, is a transfer of power to the "illegal foreign national"and away from the citizens of Oregon. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED OREGONIANS. Just keep falling, Oregonians, for the so called leftist "equality" racket, and you soon won't have any. In California, the illegal foreign nationals, have all the rights to the resources and services that California citizens paid into for years, but cannot now access. In fact, illegal foreign nationals in California, especially those from Mexico who are the greatest number of people illegally in the state, can even access all of the citizens paid for resources, in Spanish. Good luck kiddies, Oregons "leaders" are clearly interested in "redistributing" your rights to those who should not even be in Oregon. California is now a satelite of Mexico, Oregon is next on the list of the "Equalitarians".
      Posted by Bobby on 02/26/2013
    • By the way, Oregonians, students in California's once fantastic education system are now suffering because community colleges, state universities, and other schools GOT NO DOUGH. So, it's bring your own supplies and pay for them, and don't bother us administraitors that these things used to be paid for before we allowed millions of people to attend these schools that were not supposed to. But what the heck, we beaurocrats, and college administraitors that allowed all of this, are now retired and sucking a fat pension from California citizens left with the bill. STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES, OREGONIANS. And Californians in the past, have been very stupid indeed. If knowledge is not used, it's simply useless. GET A CLUE.
      Posted by California subject of Mexico on 02/26/2013
    • Gabriella, Thanks for your thoughtful and incisive comments. As a retired OSU faculty member, I strongly support your views on the granting of in-state status to the children of illegal aliens. As a faculty member at OSU for 32 years I saw many out-of-state students like you work hard to pay their higher tuition. I don't recall any of them complaining about the situation. It seems a shame to grant in-state status for presumably political ends. I'm sure that many who support the "Dream Act" do so out of a humanitarian motive, but that doesn't make such support reasonable. Best wishes in your education at a fine institution.
      Posted by Dr. David Willis on 02/26/2013
    • So according to Lyneil "it's good to hear from a member of the age group that will have to scramble harder for the opportunities we all knew when we were younger, before illegal immigration flooded the country." Yeah, so when was there NOT a time when immigrants were coming to this country? Never. I might also add that recent immigration trends have shown that there certainly is no "flood" of immigrants into this country. Another thing is that people who immigrate to the United States from various places in Latin America are more than likely fleeing economic and social conditions that we helped create. Thanks to NAFTA, the United States can export food items at a far lower cost than some countries can produce, so we send our food down there, screw the local farmers and laborers out of their economy, and so they have no choice but to pursue a better life elsewhere. That is just one example. Another thing you failed to notice is that a lot of these students seeking tuition equity could already be considered Oregon residents. They were brought here when they were young, too young to have any control, and we want to punish them by telling them to return to a country they no longer know. As far as "breaking the law" when people immigrate here, in my opinion that shouldn't invalidate them from henceforth being denied benefits or whatever. If a kid illegally crosses the road on his bike and gets hit by a car, do we deny him medical attention because he crossed the street illegally in the first place? It's flawed logic, as if by breaking one law you are no longer worthy of anything but punishment and disenfranchisement. I might add that anyone who has gone over the speed limit (which endangers A LOT of people, and is even more dangerous, say, than a family coming here looking for work) is a lawbreaker. Look, I'm a student too, paying way too much to go to school. But that is not the fault of the immigrants. Blame austerity, blame university chancellors and deans making six-figure incomes, blame bank bailouts, blame inflated military spending. Your anger is justified, but completely and totally misguided and lacking any sort of facts or substantial research.
      Posted by NevadoZ on 02/26/2013
    • What has happened and is continuing to happen in California, is justification enough, to end illegal immgration and deport those border criminals that come to the U.S. and suck the resources and social programs dry, THAT WERE CREATED, NOT FOR THEM, BUT FOR THE CITIZENS THAT PAID INTO THEM!! It's high treason and a betrayal of the U.S. citizens by any other name.
      Posted by Bobby on 02/26/2013
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