June 15, 2011

Attention, Rep Diaz: In-State College Tuition Is Not Free (... to the Taxpayer, Anyway)

Monique Chartier

For the seventh year in a row, Representative Grace Diaz (D-Providence) has submitted a bill that would, as the bill language euphemistically phrases it, "exempt" illegal immigrant students "from paying nonresident tuition at Rhode Island public universities, 8 colleges or community colleges". In other words, illegal immigrant students would be permitted to attend Rhode Island colleges and universities and pay tuition at the much lower rate of an in-state resident.

In announcing the filing of the bill in February, Rep Diaz stated that

This does not represent any financial burden to the taxpayers

This is false. The in-state college tuition rate does not cover the cost of educating that student. The shortfall is picked up by the Rhode Island taxpayer.

At Rhode Island's largest state university, this shortfall is considerable. In-state college tuition at the University of Rhode Island represents an unfunded gap of $12,500+ per year which must be picked up by the Rhode Island taxpayer. So we're clear, $12,500 (the actual figure is a little higher) is just the shortfall. Add in the tuition ($9,014 for 2011) that the in-state student pays and you get $21,500+, the total cost of educating a student at URI.

Now, setting aside the larger issue of whether it is wise to create yet another enticement for people to come here illegally, let's go back to Rep Diaz's representation that

This does not represent any financial burden to the taxpayers

A little research quickly determined that this is untrue. Presumably, she did not deliberately lie. So the question is, why would the rep put up a bill and then make statements about its cost to the taxpayer without ... you know, actually checking the facts first?

ADDENDUM - the Info Source

To clarify, the source of this data - that the shortfall of in-state tuition at URI is $12,500+ - is first hand; it came from the Provost of the University of Rhode Island, Donald DeHayes.

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Never attribute to dishonesty that which can be adequately explained by stupidity and "progressive" accounting/economics. People like Diaz are so far gone mentally that they actually believe the utopian nonsense they are saying.

Selling out the citizenry of your nation to the citizenry of a foreign nation - there used to be a word for that. In Rhode Island, it's "Representative."

Posted by: Dan at June 15, 2011 8:53 AM

" So the question is, why would the rep put up a bill and then make statements about its cost to the taxpayer without ... you know, actually checking the facts first?"

Because she's an idiot to the nth degree. This is the same State Rep who tried to ban cellophane a few years ago. She just doesn't put in the necessary work. Dumb and lazy.

Love the reference to Hanlon's Razor, Dan.

Posted by: Patrick at June 15, 2011 9:08 AM

Here's why Rep. Diaz made the statement...

Critics of in-state tuition policies claim that this legislation is a financial cost to jurisdictions that implement it. Critics argue that in-state tuition policies result in higher subsidies that must be paid by the taxpayers. However, our review has found little support for this argument. LPI’s systematic review yielded only two studies that provided numbers to support this claim, both of which had methodological flaws and were from anti-immigrant organizations...

However, using National Center for Education Statistics data, we know that the instructional cost of having a student attend a college is $9,014 for URI, $6,986 for RIC, and $3,356 for CCRI , amounts far less than the out of state tuition rates of $25,720 for URI, $16,878 RIC , and $9,496 for CCRI.

One can only wonder how Monique arrived at her conclusion that "in-state college tuition rate does not cover the cost of educating that student" since she doesn't bother to explain it.

btw, the comments above just tell me neither of you has ever met Rep. Diaz (my rep. and among the best folks I've met since moving here).

Posted by: Russ at June 15, 2011 10:12 AM

Well, I can't fault anything that Russ wrote as when I read the paper, it says:

"According to the National Center for Education Statistics data, the
in-state tuition rate for the University of Rhode Island (URI) is $2,711
higher than the instructional expenses needed to teach each student.
If in-state tuition legislation were implemented, it would result in a net gain of 12 students, totaling 50 non-citizen undergrad students.
Even if these students were all paying in-state tuition rates, they would still contribute $135,550 over the instruction expenses needed for teaching. "

So currently, URI charges about $9,000 a year for in-state tuitiion. According to this study, that's $2,711 more than it costs. So URI profits by about 30%. A 30 percent markup on in-state tuition. Yet there are screams from all over when there are cuts to funding higher ed. Why? It's already profitable. Or does that "cost" the report cites show the cost *after* the state subsidies are included? What would be the cost to educate a student at URI if they received no funding from the state?

Earlier in the study, they cited two reports that showed there is a cost to taxpayers but said they were flawed in their methodology and come from anti-immigrant organizations. That statement alone is probably flawed. Who are the "anti-immigrant" organizations? Second, what is the true cost of educating a student at URI when state subsidies are taken into account? Where is that in the report. It's not mentioned either.

Lastly, if in-state tuition were granted to non-US citizens, universities would probably just try to recoup the difference by accepting more out of state students.

Posted by: Patrick at June 15, 2011 10:37 AM

"the instructional cost"

As far as I can tell, that's like saying taxi rides should only be $0.20/mile to meet the 'fuel cost'.

There's a whole lot more than 'instructional cost' to running a University. I don't recall URI pumping the state coffers full of money.

Posted by: mangeek at June 15, 2011 11:50 AM

"Who are the 'anti-immigrant; organizations?"

That's in the report... Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). There's also an explanation of why their methodology was flawed.

FAIR determined the cost of in-state tuition by calculating the difference between in-state tuition and out of state tuition and then multiplying the difference by the number of expected additional non-citizen students. This method is flawed because it assumes that the same number of students paying in-state tuition would pursue higher education if forced to pay out of state tuition; an assumption that is certainly inaccurate. Additionally, this method assumes that the instructional cost of having a student attend college is at the out of state tuition rate.

Here's the kicker...

In 2008, the state of Rhode Island provided a subsidy of $3,367 per full time enrolled student (FTE) per year for public research universities/colleges (like URI), and $5,264 per FTE per year for community colleges (CCRI). This subsidy is per full time enrolled student (FTE) regardless of in-state or out of state tuition rates, and regardless of citizenship status. State subsidy budget allocations are not directly affected by the number of non-citizen students, regardless of whether they are paying in-state or out-of-state tuition.
Posted by: Russ at June 15, 2011 12:10 PM

btw, my objection was the implication that Rep. Diaz was lying, which clearly was not the case.

Posted by: Russ at June 15, 2011 12:11 PM

"There's a whole lot more than 'instructional cost' to running a University. I don't recall URI pumping the state coffers full of money."

Progressive economists and policymakers typically ignore opportunity costs in evaluating their pet proposals, so I'm sure the opportunity cost of foregone revenue from out-of-state students that could have filled those seats is not being considered. The unintended consequence of drawing more illegal immigrants to Rhode Island will also not be considered.

Posted by: Dan at June 15, 2011 1:07 PM

"That's in the report... Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)."

Ok, taken from the "About Us" page on FAIR's web site:
"The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is a national, nonprofit, public-interest, membership organization of concerned citizens who share a common belief that our nation's immigration policies must be reformed to serve the national interest."

Nothing "anti-immigration" there.

And taken from the CIS "About Us" page:

" In fact, many of us at the Center are animated by a "low-immigration, pro-immigrant" vision of an America that admits fewer immigrants but affords a warmer welcome for those who are admitted."

So this study you cite Russ, alleges bias from the two studies as being "anti-immigrant", but that couldn't be further from the truth, thus putting the study you cite in the same category as they labeled the other two studies. Untrustworthy.

Posted by: Patrick at June 15, 2011 1:38 PM

"Nothing 'anti-immigration' there."

Case closed then. On the other hand...


Federation for American Immigration Reform Washington, D.C. www.fairus.org

Founded in 1978 by John H. Tanton, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is one of the country's best-established anti-immigration groups — and the richest beneficiary among them of the largesse of the infamous Pioneer Fund.

The Fund, which has long subsidized dubious studies of the alleged links between race and intelligence, awarded FAIR $1.2 million between 1985 and 1994, according to the Institute for the Study of Academic Racism. FAIR now says that it has severed its links to the controversial Fund.

Today, FAIR claims a staggering 70,000 members, although that number is almost certainly inflated. Tanton remains on FAIR's board and also is the publisher of The Social Contract Press, which sells racist anti-immigrant tracts.

Dan Stein, the group's executive director, has warned that certain immigrant groups are engaged in "competitive breeding" aimed at diminishing white power. Rick Oltman, FAIR's western representative, has spoken before and worked with the racist Council of Conservative Citizens.

Garrett Hardin, a FAIR board member, has argued that aiding starving Africans is counterproductive and will only "encourage population growth." Overall, FAIR blames immigrants for crime, poverty, disease, urban sprawl and increasing racial tensions in America, and calls for a drastic cut in the numbers of those allowed in.

FAIR recently helped run a billboard campaign in Virginia blaming immigrants for traffic and sprawl. Last summer, FAIR attacked Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.), an Arab-American, for supporting more visas for foreigners with high-technology skills.

In radio and TV ads, it said Abraham's proposal could "make it easier for [Arab] terrorists like Osama bin Laden to export their way of terror to any street in America." FAIR's ads were condemned across the country and caused former Sen. Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyo.) to resign from FAIR's advisory board.

In a 1997 interview, Tanton said that unless U.S. borders are sealed, America will be overrun by people "defecating and creating garbage and looking for jobs."

Nothing anti-immigrant there, eh? Where would anyone get that idea?


Hobnobbing with extremists: CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian posed in 2007 with Kyle Bristow, then a student leader at Michigan State University who ranted publicly about "Judeo-Bolshevism."

Krikorian no doubt thought of his posting as a simple joke. But to many, the attempt by the leader of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) to suggest a link between Washington Mutual's commitment to opening its ranks to Latinos and its demise spoke volumes about the nature of CIS and its prolific research. Although the think tank bills itself as an "independent" organization with a "pro-immigrant" if "low-immigration" vision, the reality is that CIS has never found any aspect of immigration that it liked.

There's a reason for that. Although you'd never know it to read its materials, CIS was started in 1985 by a Michigan ophthalmologist named John Tanton — a man known for his racist statements about Latinos, his decades-long flirtation with white nationalists and Holocaust deniers, and his publication of ugly racist materials. CIS' creation was part of a carefully thought-out strategy aimed at creating a set of complementary institutions to cultivate the nativist cause — groups including the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA. As is shown in Tanton's correspondence, lodged in the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Tanton came up with the idea in the early 1980s for "a small think tank" that would "wage the war of ideas."

And while Tanton never actually ran CIS, his correspondence shows that as late as 1994, nine years after it was started, Tanton, who remains on FAIR's board of directors today, saw himself as setting the "proper roles for FAIR and CIS." He raised millions of dollars for the think tank and published the writings of top CIS officials in his racist journal, The Social Contract. He maneuvered a friend on to the board of CIS — a man who shared his interest in eugenics and who attended events with Tanton where white nationalists gave presentations. Through it all, CIS pumped out study after study aimed at highlighting immigration's negative effects.

Posted by: Russ at June 15, 2011 4:21 PM

I don't understand. Because someone is a racist, that means they're anti-immigrant? Here is one writer's statements and opinions.

But back to the original point. Is URI overfunded since they are turning a profit by your numbers? Or is the Provost lying? Is is Monique misremembering?

Posted by: Patrick at June 15, 2011 5:02 PM

Hey,Russ-you make good money from what I've deduced from reading your posts.
You live in Rep.Diaz' district.That's a working poor/poverty district with a few middle class families.
Are you one of those gentrifiers who force working poor out of affordable housing?
And please don't act shocked at terms like "Judeo-Bolshevism"when you never met an "anti-Zionist"you didn't give at least a little rhythm to.
Your incessant whining about "anti-immigrant"is stale BS.
Do all of you leftists have have implanted boilerplate devices?

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 15, 2011 6:26 PM

Before they offer a single dollar to illegal aliens, they have to rectify a real injustice in the tuition system.

I, as a RI taxpayer, paid for my daughter's tuition at URI. But at the end of her freshman year they informed me that she was considered an "out-of-state" student because she had lived with her mother during high school, and so my cost of educating her doubled at the stroke of a bureaucrat's pen.

When American kids whose parents are RI taxpayers get in-state tuition, then Grace Diaz can agitate for the children of criminals, but until then she's just another racist special pleader.

Posted by: BobN at June 15, 2011 7:41 PM

i spoke to rep. diaz about this 7 years ago. this and drivers licenses. I told her people will never accept this without provisions stating these kids will apply for legal immigration status. This bill has that language, but waters it down so much that it amounts to a paper promise and not anything of significance. This should not and will not pass without much stronger language around illegal immigrants diligently working towards becoming legal. How can they get a job with their degrees once they graduate?

Posted by: don roach at June 15, 2011 7:43 PM
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