FINCH: TUITION ASSISTANCE FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS WOULD BE AN OFFENSE TO AMERICAN STUDENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES
Assemblyman Gary Finch (R,C,I-Springport) today expressed his opposition to legislation that would offer illegal immigrants financial aid to attend college in New York. The cost of funding the measure is projected at over $30 million. Finch indicated that this bill would misappropriate funds at a time when American students and families desperately need them.
“There are countless students born and raised in the United States, as well as hardworking immigrant families who are here legally, that currently struggle to pay for college,” said Finch. “At a time of fiscal turmoil when education funding is scarce, these Americans must be our priority. To take taxpayer resources away from American citizens to give to illegal aliens is just plain wrong.”
The measure is particularly disturbing in light of recent cuts to higher education. In 2010, the legislature cut aid to SUNY and CUNY by $143 million. The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) saw a reduction of $49.7 million, while community college base aid to students was cut by $56.7 million and monetary awards given to needy students were also reduced. Additionally, TAP funding for graduate students was completely eliminated. Tuition for out-of-state undergraduates is set to increase by 10 percent over the next five years. Student debt has grown larger than both auto loan and credit card debt in the United States, with the average New York College student carrying $26,000 in debt.
Taxpayer-funded programs that would be made available to illegal immigrants under this legislation include:
- Tuition Assistance Program (TAP);
- Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP);
- Educational Opportunity Program (EOP);
- Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (C-STEP); and
- Opportunity programs available at community colleges.