In February, the board of trustees voted 7-1 to allow qualified illegal students entry into the junior college for the first time since 2002 and to charge them in-state tuition.
Their ruling received mixed reactions, with some lauding the school for codifying a policy towards undocumented students and others arguing that the school should not require taxpayers to foot the tuition bill of illegal immigrants -- especially at the discounted in-state rate.
Pressure from critics prompted the trustees to reconsider their February decision. According to the Daily Record, trustees received letters from right-wing group Judicial Watch and the college's freeholders saying that charging illegal students in-state tuition was illegal. Trustee Alan Gordon told the Record that the threat of legal action caused the trustees to revisit their initial resolution. "I'm not in favor of defending in court a vote of ours that might cost tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees," he said.
But trustee chair Elaine Johnson maintains that undocumented students should be allowed to pay in-state costs, and said during the public hearing preceding the vote that the new ruling stemmed from "bigotry, hatred, threats and lies."
College President Edward Yaw did not voice his opinion with regards to the new ruling, but he did say that the institution would likely not have been in legal jeopardy had it stood by the February decision.
The Star-Ledger reports that undocumented students will now have to pay the out-of-state fee of $9,780 per year -- up from $3,450 per year in-state.
Do you think that illegal students should be permitted to pay in-state tuition? Let us know in the comments section.