Georgia Colleges Working To Verify Students’ Status

ATLANTA – Georgia’s 35 colleges and universities are working to carry out a mandate from their governing body and verify the citizenship status of nearly 316,000 students by mid-August.

University System Chancellor Erroll Davis and the state Board of Regents ordered colleges to review the tuition charges placed on all students earlier this month after it was disclosed that Kennesaw State University charged an illegal immigrant student in-state tuition.

The regents appointed a committee to examine the most efficient ways to check residency status to prevent illegal immigrants from getting in-state tuition.

Kennesaw State officials said they will “conduct residency verification on all students,” with any student who doesn’t provide documentation to qualify for in-state status required to pay the much higher out-of-state rate.

The university is researching whether to use an outside verification system, spokeswoman Arlethia Perry-Johnson said.

University of Georgia spokesman Tom Jackson said admissions officers already request more information if an application raises concerns, such as failing to supply a social security number.

“We’re not sure if we need to do more than what we’re currently doing,” Jackson said. “At this point we’re confident we’re getting the job done.”

Georgia State University requires non-U.S. citizens to provide documentation of their legal status before they can enroll, spokeswoman Andrea Jones said.

Students who are not confirmed to be legal Georgia residents or U.S. citizens are denied in-state tuition and other benefits, she said.