06/08/2012 10:04 am ET Updated Jun 09, 2012

Metropolitan State College of Denver Approves Unsubsidized Tuition Cut For Undocumented Immigrants

A reduced tuition rate for undocumented immigrants will go into this effect this fall at Metropolitan State College of Denver.

The college's board of trustees voted 7-1 Thursday morning 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. In-state students currently pay $2,152 per semester.

"You are leading where the legislature has so far, not," State Sen. Pat Steadman said in support of the plan, referencing the ASSET bill that failed in the state's Legislature. The ASSET bill, or Advancing Students for a Stronger Economy Tomorrow would have essentially done the same thing, but statewide and would have given colleges the right to opt out.

In January the Denver Post published an editorial favoring the ASSET bill:

There are other elements of the bill that make it appealing. Colleges and universities could opt out if they did not want to participate. Students will be required to seek legal status if they are not already in the process of doing so. And the measure is limited to students who have graduated from Colorado high schools.

Many of these students were brought to this country as infants or toddlers. They know no country besides this one. Those eligible for this tuition rate have succeeded academically and have managed to defeat the achievement gap.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 12 states currently have laws allowing undocumented immigrants to receive in-state tuition after meeting specific requirements, and nine of them do not allow them the ability to receive state-funded financial aid.

“There are no tax dollars involved, no subsidy, they don’t get anything special just a reduced tuition rate,” Meto State Trustee Terrance Carroll told CBS4.

Though cheers erupted after Metro's tuition vote was announced, the news has been met with strong criticism on social media sites like Metro State's Twitter and Facebook accounts.

LeeAnna Duarte, a self-described journalism student at Metro State wrote on the College's Facebook page:

I would love for Metro to lower my out of state tuition, since you know I was BORN in this country and I'm a US citizen and my father is also a disabled Veteran! Undocumented students are going to pay almost $10,000 less a year then I pay, I have no problem with them going to school and receiving an education, my dad came over here from another country and he followed the correct steps to become a US citizen. It's easier said then done to transfer schools, but if I could I wouldn't finish my degree at "Metropolitan State University of Denver."

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