BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick wants to allow some undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates to attend state colleges and universities.
A senior administration official told The Associated Press that Patrick will send a letter to the state Board of Higher Education on Monday instructing schools to grant the resident tuition rate to undocumented immigrants who obtain a work permit through a new federal program instituted by President Barack Obama. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the letter had not yet been delivered.
The Boston Globe first reported on the new program.
Obama in June launched the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, granting immigrants aged 30 and younger two-year reprieves from deportation if they arrived before age 16, had a clean record and met other requirements. The president left it up to individual states to decide whether immigrants should get benefits such as resident tuition.
State Education Secretary Paul Reville said Obama’s program changed undocumented immigrants’ circumstances enough to clear the way for them to pay resident tuition. He said immigrants with federal work permits have been allowed to pay resident tuition since 2008.
It was not immediately known how many immigrants might benefit from the program.
Patrick’s announcement cuts by half the cost of a college education for some immigrants.
The flagship University of Massachusetts Amherst costs $26,645 this year for nonresidents, compared with $13,230 for residents. Bunker Hill Community College costs $5,640 this year for residents, compared with $13,880 for nonresidents. Framingham State costs $8,080 for residents this year, compared with $14,160 for nonresidents.
To qualify for the program, immigrants will also have to meet all existing rules for admission to the colleges and universities, including academic requirements.
Steve Kropper, co-chairman of Massachusetts Citizens for Immigration Reform, which favors tougher limits on immigration, said the governor and the president should focus on making college affordable for U.S. citizens and legal residents.