Higher Education Must Lobby for Undocumented Students


The state of Maryland has a great number brilliant and talented young people graduating from its high schools. Consider Samuel,* a recent 17-year-old valedictorian of Patterson High School in Baltimore. Samuel graduated with a 4.0 average, was a contender on the national debate circuit and excelled in advanced placement classes. Samuel also envisioned “giving back to my community by fostering leaders (in) community outreach programs to the less fortunate.”

Samuel wanted to go to college to remain near his family in Baltimore. He chose Towson University, was accepted and planned on studying international relations.

Problem is, he won’t be able to go. Samuel’s parents brought him to this country when he was a child, and by the way, they had no papers when they got here.

Regrettably, although Samuel and his family have lived in Baltimore for several years, his lack of papers renders him ineligible to receive in-state tuition. He would have to pay out-of state tuition to attend Towson University, which would cost about $30,000 (tuition, housing, and fees. Tuition for out-of state students is 3x that for in-state residents). Since his status also makes him ineligible for federal financial aid, Samuel is stuck, his dreams deferred. Towson University is stuck as well because it needs students with Samuel’s interests, skills and talents.

Higher education in the state of Maryland has a responsibility to the state’s young people that transcends issues of class and status. Such responsibility, it seems, obliges public (and private) colleges and universities to lobby Annapolis on SB591/ HB 1236 (in-state tuition bills for undocumented students).

A strong lobbying push on this bill from MDs’ colleges and universities would provide a strong statement about the system’s commitment to the best and brightest students, regardless of how their parents crossed the border. And these bills, if enacted, would cost nearly nothing. Seems a no-brainer!

For this Thursday, SUPPORT SB 591 and OPPOSE SB 15 and SB 40!

*Samuel is not this student’s real name. This info. comes from written testimony on in-state tuition bills before the legislature in Annapolis, courtesy of Casa de Maryland.

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One response to “Higher Education Must Lobby for Undocumented Students

  1. How about taking out student loans and paying them back when you get out of school — that’s what my kids had to do and they have papers!

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