By D.A. King
Plea for passage of legislation inaccurate
In an introduction to a recent guest column aimed at pending state higher education legislation on the AJC’S “Get Schooled” blog AJC columnist Maureen Downey leads readers to believe that refugees cannot access instate tuition in Georgia’s public colleges.
In the column (“Afghan women refugees like me want a future in Georgia”) writer Husnia Jamal, apparently a refugee, also laments “But I, like so many other displaced people living in Georgia, found out that I could not access in-state tuition here — no matter how long I live, work, or pay state taxes — because of my immigration status.” As she is migrating to Georgia from Afghanistan, Jamal could also be an ‘SIV’ (Special Visa Immigrant).
A quick look at the Board of Regents webpage on instate tuition eligibility illustrates the truth: ”…lawful permanent residents, refugees, asylees, or other eligible noncitizens may be extended the same consideration as citizens of the United States in determining whether they qualify for in-state classification.” This includes SIV recipients.
PRESIDENT, THE DUSTIN INMAN SOCIETY
MARIETTA, GA. 30066
Reply, soon after (thirteen minutes) I emailed my letter for consideration to be published:
This is the passage in full from the reference you cite:
A non-citizen student shall not be classified as in-state for tuition purposes unless the student is legally in this state and there is evidence to warrant consideration of in-state classification as determined by the Board of Regents. Lawful permanent residents, refugees, asylees, or other eligible noncitizens as defined by federal Title IV regulations may be extended the same consideration as citizens of the United States in determining whether they qualify for in-state classification.
As you know from your advocacy, this has long been an issue with public colleges in Georgia. It’s affected straight-A students who arrived here as minors that I know of personally, and who could not pursue a college education in Georgia.
If nothing else, IMHO, the word “may” above (as opposed to say “shall”) leaves ample room for interpretation, good, bad or indifferent, as to who’s eligible for in-state tuition, especially when combined with how the “evidence” mentioned of above is assessed.
So, to my mind, no correction’s warranted to the Op-Ed.
Thanks for continuing to read the AJC.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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Contact info for the Georgia delegation in Washington DC here. Just click on their name.
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