The Board of Metropolitan State University of Denver broke with the Colorado state legislature by passing a tuition rate available for undocumented students. The $7157 annual rate splits the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition, and removes all state subsidy from the charges.
Undocumented students will pay $4304 resident tuition + the $1860 state stipend + $342 fees + $650 to cover the cost of buildings and other capital expense.
Board member and former Colorado House Speaker Terrance Carroll assured other board members that Metro has the authority to make this change. Melody Harris, another board member, said "We can't always wait for the legislature." She noted that the college gives scholarships to foreign students all the time. Carroll said that this act will help to move undocumented students toward legal status.
The ballroom was full in the Tivoli Center where the Board held its meeting. Many students, including some who are undocumented, offered their stories and dreams. Hector, a student at Metro South, said he's dreamed of college since he came to the states in 2004. He realized his junior year in high school that it would be a slow road for him. He has taken 10 courses over two+ years, but with this tuition change, he can now attend the main campus and afford more classes.
Sarahi, a student who wants a career to help young people, has worked hard in school. "Only 9 digits now define where I can work, but I will not let them define who I am in life. The numbers on my tuition bill are different from others, but now I have a better chance."
Others who testified include State Senator Pat Steadman, State Representative Crisanta Duran, and Denver City Council member Judy Montero. The audience erupted in applause with the vote. Next question: will other state colleges and universities follow Metro's lead. PEN, CCW