• August 30, 2015

Georgia Regents Ban Illegal Immigrants From Selective Public Colleges

Illegal immigrants will be denied admission to public colleges in Georgia that have to turn away applicants who are academically qualified, legal residents of the state, under a policy adopted on Wednesday by the state's Board of Regents.

In practice, few immigrants and institutions will be affected by the change. But the policy responds to a recent flurry of political debate over immigration in the state and concerns voiced by some Georgia residents and lawmakers that illegal immigrants were taking seats away from qualified legal residents seeking access to the state's most-selective colleges.

The ban, which is set to take effect next fall, makes Georgia only the second state to prohibit the admission of illegal immigrants to public four-year institutions. South Carolina bans such students from all of its public colleges, and Alabama prevents them from enrolling in its two-year institutions.

In Georgia a total of 27 undocumented students were enrolled this fall at the five colleges that currently fall under the new admissions ban, according to the Board of Regents. The five institutions are Georgia College & State University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, the Medical College of Georgia, and the University of Georgia.

The colleges affected by the ban could change from year to year as their selectivity changes. The admissions policy states that it applies each year to public colleges that, in the two most recent academic years, did not admit all academically qualified applicants.

Tougher Scrutiny of Residency

Across the 35 colleges of the University System of Georgia, 501 students are undocumented, less than 0.2 percent of the system's 310,000 students, according to a report presented to the regents on Wednesday. All of those undocumented students are paying out-of-state tuition, as required by Georgia law.

The admissions change was adopted along with other new requirements designed to make sure Georgia's colleges are properly classifying students, and identifying those who are illegal immigrants, for tuition purposes. The Board of Regents had appointed a committee to examine its colleges' methods of verifying students' immigration status after a Kennesaw State University student, stopped by police for a traffic violation, was discovered to be in the United States illegally. The student had been paying in-state tuition instead of the higher out-of-state rate.

Georgia is one of four states that explicitly prohibit illegal immigrants from paying in-state tuition. Ten states have policies that make some of those students eligible for in-state rates, typically if they have lived in the state for a certain period of time and graduated from one of its high schools.

The Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union had urged the regents to vote against the admissions ban, which also prompted some students and others to protest outside the regents' meeting. But others have argued the policy doesn't go far enough, including some state lawmakers who have vowed to push legislation that would extend the ban on admitting illegal immigrants to all public colleges.


1. tsb2010 - October 13, 2010 at 02:31 pm

It's about time - let's emulate this in the other states too.

2. archman - October 13, 2010 at 03:09 pm

Only 501 students out of over 310,000... I hope this is worth it.

3. 12090007 - October 13, 2010 at 03:35 pm

They should just ban all immigrants. That would create more seats for residents and create a more conducive atmosphere on campus.

4. 22247932 - October 13, 2010 at 03:47 pm

Yes, make laws that only provide higher education opportunities for Native Americans. That will keep all those immigrants uneducated, minimally employable and poor for generations. That is exactly what is needed to solve this problem and move this counry ahead.

Nothing like a report on this topic to bring out the rampant racisim and xenophobia!

5. sportcat - October 13, 2010 at 03:50 pm

If I have to be a legal resident of the United States to win a trip on Carnival Cruise Lines, shouldn't I also have to be a legal resident to attend college, and receive financial aid, in the United States?

6. rtops - October 13, 2010 at 03:52 pm

Ignorance is curable, stupidity is forever! Taking seat from other "qualified" students... If they were more qualified, wouldn't they have been admitted instead? Send that more qualified student elsewhere, let them blossom and shine elsewhere... btw, how is this going to make a campus more conducive? Condicive to what... hate??

7. swish - October 13, 2010 at 03:56 pm

#4: I think #3 was joking.

8. rtops - October 13, 2010 at 03:56 pm

btw sportcat, you do have to be a legal resident to receive any kind of federal financial aid. Do your research before posting... comparing college to a Carnival Cruise raffle and then mistating facts. Genious!

9. sportcat - October 13, 2010 at 04:06 pm

#8 - not if you have have a stolen ID, or SSN.

My point is, that a raffle has stricter guidelines than citizenship requirements for attending college.

10. nacrandell - October 13, 2010 at 04:18 pm

Stop allowing illegal workers and hold both the workers and the businesses that pay reduced wages or under the table accountable. Tax-payers are subsidizing illegal workers and our educational system, especially in this hard economic time, is stretched thin.

Crying racism and bigotry sounds all touchy feely nice, but where is the money for the programs?

11. nyceducator - October 13, 2010 at 04:22 pm

Is it just me...How can you be enrolled in College if you are illegal?
Sounds like there are lax state laws in GA!
Not in NYC or NJ unless a ssn is bought or stolen which sounds even crazier!!! It is insane what some will do to go to college while we have our American students dropping out of High School and abusing drugs???
As for post #3 your statement is disturbing "They should just ban all immigrants. That would create more seats for residents and create a more conducive atmosphere on campus."
What does that mean? We are a country of immigrants some from 1900s others from 2000. The issue is enter the US legally!

12. pchoffer - October 13, 2010 at 04:26 pm

Folks: but do not ban illegal immigrants from USG grounds crews, landscaping crews, construction crews, clean up crews (after games) and just about every other privately employed labor force on our campuses, or we Ga legal residents might have to build our own buildings, trim our own bushes, and clean up after ourselves. Okay to have cheap labor, not okay to educate the children of cheap labor. I thought Edward R. Morrow's See It Now had exposed the exploitation of migrant laborers (today's illegal immigrants). Guess that's why we require history at USG (though the same regents who voted the ban might want us to omit such ugly episodes from our courses). All best, Peter

13. kapayne - October 13, 2010 at 04:30 pm

"Illegal immigrants will be denied admission to public colleges in Georgia that have to turn away applicants who are academically qualified, legal residents of the state, under a policy adopted on Wednesday by the state's Board of Regents."

So how does this affect academically unqualified Georgia residents who are admitted under a Presidential exception to play sports. Who is admitted: an academically qualified undocumented immigrant or academically unqualified resident?

14. buzzer - October 13, 2010 at 04:42 pm

What to go State of Georgia!!!!

Next on the list: Quit taking the tax dollars of legal residents to fund food and healthcare for the illegals.

Hey Folks - and especially you bleeding heart liberals: They are ILLEGAL. Until the law changes, enforce the law of legal citizenship.

15. johnfarley - October 13, 2010 at 06:14 pm

Another cheap election-year stunt.

16. olshanskypattis - October 13, 2010 at 06:37 pm

I am nostalgically reminded of watching the TV show "Hank" in the middle 60s (w\
hich I watched as an impressionable youngster). Hank, more than wanting a degree, wanted an education. As America was going through these anti-authoritarian times, the main character thumbed his nose at the up-tight college administration by illegally auditing classes. This all seemed like good fun then. Today, when I let students audit my classes informally, because they are interested, I might be humming, in the back of my mind...

>From Memory:

"He'll dry clean your clothes be a butler or a porter if it means another quarter in the bank. He'll get his degree, his Phi Beta key, and get them all for free -dum de dum de dum de dum- that's Hank"

>From Wikipedia:

The show revolves around a pair of orphans. In both the unaired pilot and first episode, the titular Hank Dearborn is explained to be a teenager left to raise his young sister after his parents die in a car crash. Seeing that the best route to this is higher education, Hank attempts to illegally audit classes at the fictional Western State University, while at the same time taking a variety of odd jobs (the main one of which was to run his own lunch truck) to financially support what remains of his family. Much of the humor of the show derives from the fact that accomplishing these twin goals requires him to engage in identity theft. Much of the drama arises from his fear of his sister being forced into foster care.[3]

His life is further complicated by the fact that he is dating the daughter of the university's registrar, who is on the lookout for false students like Hank.[1] Typical episodes show Hank narrowly avoiding detection as an impersonator. In the final episode, his true identity is compromised. However, because of his excellent performance on a recent exam, the university rewards him with a full academic scholarship and formal admittance to the university.

The series ends with his sister remarking, "There goes my brotherÃthe registered student."[1]

17. mozman - October 13, 2010 at 07:22 pm

There are "selective public colleges" in Georgia?

I kid, I kid...

18. princeton67 - October 13, 2010 at 08:19 pm

Too bad the Regents didn't have the guts to preclude unqualified athletes from being admitted. For thirty years, as I taught SAT Prep and AP Litertaure in two Georgia high schools, I watched as motivated students with 1200+ SATs and 3.8+ GPAs were denied, while All-State and -American athletes, half of whom would graduate, with NCAA minimal scores of 900 SATs and 2.3 GPAs were admitted.
Google: "University of Georgia Graduation Rates for Football Players".
From the AJC blog site, UGA-Sports-Blog: "All male students who entered UGA in 2007 had an average SAT score of 1250...male student-athelets had an average score of 998...football players had an average of 916 and men's basketball players, 906.....From 1999 gthorugh 2003, 76% earned degress within six years, compared to 57% of athletes...51% of UGA's male athletes, 46% of football players, and 17% of men's basketball players."

19. princeton67 - October 13, 2010 at 08:25 pm

Sorry: I should have proofread the above. Correct four typos need to be changed to "literature", "athletes", "through", and "degrees".

20. samusa - October 13, 2010 at 10:21 pm

If I have a choice, I would not only ban all illegals from entering public colleges, but I would also ban ACLU for always standing up for the illegals against the interests of law abiding citizens of USA. ACLU's tactics is to bankrupt cities and other systems by taking them to court for making laws against illegals. What it amounts to is that breaking the law is good in the eyes of ACLU.

21. joanb195 - October 13, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Typical of GA. Anyway they can discriminate they will.

22. abhaspatel - October 13, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Well, whether we are liberal or not, we have to consider, do we need intelligent people to be further educated or half-witted, overly-privileged, slackers with a strong sense of entitlement. BTW its laughable that people who are illegal can get into college in the first place. Don't they need some legal documents to enroll in an accredited school?

23. outlaw768 - October 14, 2010 at 08:07 am

Any idiot that agrees with this actionn is an absolute BIGGOT! It's no wonder that American Colleges and Universities have sunk so low in rankings around the world.

We need to push out all this racist ideaology out of higher education and crush it like bugs these people are!

24. cp3242 - October 14, 2010 at 09:22 am

With regards to #14's comments on taxes, many undocumented workers actually do pay taxes. They are subject to pay the exact same sales tax as any citizen would be. In addition, the Tax Foundation reports that last year 1.4 million illegal immigrants (a 40% increase) paid taxes using a Tax Identification Number. Furthermore, the same report indicated that "many undocumented immigrants pay payroll taxes (i.e. FICA and Medicare) using either an invalid Social Security number or a Tax Identification Number (TIN), and empirical evidence tends to show that a large fraction of the economic incidence of these taxes falls on workers." While there are certainly undocumented workers engaging in tax evasion, there are many U.S. citizens who engage in this behavior as well. The idea that undocumented workers pay nothing into the system and therefore should get nothing out of it is just not an easy position to empirically support.

25. quiero_leer - October 14, 2010 at 09:24 am

Most of these comments reveal the most specious of reasoning and a racism/xenophobia of breathtaking proportions. First, these students have names and faces and stories. I am quite certain that they are more highly motivated to do well than many of their U.S.-born (ahem: NOT "Native American") classmates who believe that a HOPE "scholarship" entitles them to grades-to-order, classroom disruption, and servility on the part of their professors and staff on campus.

These students, most of whom were brought here as young minor children by their parents and hold *high school diplomas issued by the state of Georgia*, are by any measure longstanding *residents of the state of Georgia*. A kid from any other state has to live here one year to be considered a Georgia resident. These kids speak and write English with native and near-native proficiency, which is more than many U.S.-born Georgia students can claim.

Rather than shifting the blame to their parents who brought them here 10, 15, 18 years ago, we need to grandfather in this group of students until the problem is addressed at the federal level.

Of course, we mustn't consider the effects that U.S. policies towards Latin America have had over the past, say, 50 years or so. We mustn't even begin to consider whether we have brought the problem of economic migration upon ourselves by allowing our government to support oppressive regimes that prop up U.S. business "interests." I recommend reading Pablo Neruda's "United Fruit" for starters.

It's attitudes like these which make me seriously consider teaching abroad rather than in the United States, which has replaced education as a precondition of democracy with a cynical and desstructive dumbing-down of its schools and universities. This is done for two reasons: to create intellectually-crippled sheep who are easy to control (hi, Tea Party), and in the name of siphoning every possible dollar out of the budget and into the pockets of private enterprise (viz. grossly inflated textbook prices, today's "more technology spending amid budget cuts" story, the dismantling of humanities departments and libraries, etc., etc., etc.).

I love my country but despise the troglodyte mentality that has taken hold.

26. quiero_leer - October 14, 2010 at 09:26 am

(typo: "desctructive").

27. quiero_leer - October 14, 2010 at 09:32 am

Typo on the typo. Hey, at least I know it's a typo. D-e-s-t-r-u-c-t-i-v-e. Sorry.

28. cp3242 - October 14, 2010 at 09:35 am

While I do not consider myself to be a "bleeding heart liberal," I am shocked to find so many vicious comments in response to a Chronicle article. I would have expected to see a more balanced, reasoned approach supported by data and driven by a passion for higher education.

I can certainly understand the need for better procedures to track undocumented students. We certainly have a vested interest in knowing who the students are attending our schools. For security reasons alone, we need to keep accurate records of all our students. From what I understand, many students actually do submit documentation, similar to what an international student would submit (ex: passport from home country). Others submit false ID numbers, which is certainly not preferable.

Another point to consider is that these students are likely not the ones who committed the illegal act of crossing the border. I would imagine that the majority of these students (particularly those who are being admitted to selective public schools based on academic merit) have been in the U.S. school system most of their lives. They were likely infants, toddlers, or small children when their PARENTS brought them across the border. The minors committed no crime. In this case, it seems unfair to punish them for something they did not consent to doing. Perhaps this is where the Dream Act could be so helpful by creating a path to citizenship for students who advance their education.

29. mo9259 - October 14, 2010 at 09:48 am

Racism and bigotry appear to be the slurs used by those who don't agree with the folks who want to uphold the law. Illegal is illegal - race is not the issue. You can be illegal and white. White illegal immigrants will be equally affected by this policy as those who are non-white.

30. lotsoquestions - October 14, 2010 at 10:26 am

It's about the money, folks. If I've been paying taxes in the state for 18 or more years so that my child can go to a state public school at in-state rates, then I'm going to be angry anytime the schools in my state do not have room for my children but do have room for others who have not paid taxes to support these schools.

In our state, people are starting to question why international students are getting scholarships to attend the flagship state public university when there are not enough slots for valedictorians at state public high schools.

They're starting to question why the state university is RECRUITING ATHLETES OVERSEAS and giving them scholarships to come fill up the teams at our state schools -- when qualified in-state kids aren't getting those athletic scholarships.

Regardless of how qualified these illegal immigrants are, the fact is that I am paying taxes to support the state public university while these children's parents are not. I pay taxes to support my local public schools too and if I were told that the new legislation required that I still pay the taxes but that my child could no longer attend the school -- while someone else who paid no tuition could, I would be understandably angry. Attending the state university is not a right to be accorded to all, including illegals. It is a privilege granted to those who have been paying into the systsem to support the universities. Those people are called taxpayers.

31. cp3242 - October 14, 2010 at 10:42 am

#29, Laws are certainly very important. However, the "just follow the laws" mantra seems to be a bit of a shirking of responsibility. Citizens didn't "just follow the laws" when it came to fighting for women's suffrage or civil rights. They advocated for change in the laws. Sometimes, these courageous individuals were jailed for their fight against the established laws of the day. Certainly no one thinks it's just to deny a woman the right to vote merely because she's a woman. And I would hope that very few people still hold to the idea that blacks should be second-class citizens. But, those concepts were supported legally in previous generations. It's perfectly reasonable for U.S. citizens to fight for better laws and to even engage in civil disobedience when they feel that the laws are unjust. It seems that the most un-American act of all would be to just blindly follow laws that are difficult to enforce or unfair rather than to advocate for change.

32. mo9259 - October 14, 2010 at 11:03 am

#31: The point I was trying to make is that the issue isn't race therefore slurs of racism and bigotry are inappropriate. As you indicated, the law may or may not be right but that is what the debate should focus on.

33. 22250655 - October 14, 2010 at 11:14 am

The Georgia regents have made a politically correct decision that will get them publicity and win them votes with anti-illegal immigrant legislators and voters (as well as those who are just anti-immigrant). My questions are why are they paying attention to such a small problem when the university system faces so many others, and why are they publicizing their action?

34. cnieto34 - October 14, 2010 at 12:48 pm

It is unfortunate that anyone would support any policy that would deny education to someone who is documented or undocumented. .2% is a pretty insignificant when you look at the grander scheme.

Let's look at the some figures.

-Georgia is among 17 states with the lowest overall graduation rates in the country which make up 70% of the overall dropout rates.

-Georgia was one of five states with the worst graduation rates. The others are Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and South Carolina.

-Hispanics, which include undocumented students, are the fastest growing student population in the state. Although they have the lowest graduation rate, it increased from 53% to 69% from 2003 to 2009. This number continues to grow.

From a business/admissions stand point of view, they are the new market. The future looks grim for Georgia colleges because the state cannot provide enough eligible/documented students to fill "seats" in college because of failing school systems and policies.

#2 makes a great statement

35. drmink - October 14, 2010 at 02:34 pm

Brown is the new Black.

36. lasaunders - October 14, 2010 at 02:50 pm

"All of those undocumented students are paying out-of-state tuition, as required by Georgia law."

I find this unlikely to be true. When student Jessica Coltl was in the news it was reported that she had been paying in-state tuition for years. Are we to believe that she was the only undocumented student in the system who had figured out how to pay in-state tution?

37. jbpa2825 - October 15, 2010 at 09:27 am

to #34, actually, enrollment in all 35 GA public oolleges is growing and is predicted to continue growing until at least 2022, then stabiliize.

38. 987321 - October 15, 2010 at 09:47 am

You all are Racist its not their fault for being academicly better than the US Citicenzs! who do not get accepted. Its true Brown is the new Black the United States is going to turn Brown look at out President he isnt fully black is he he is Brown. these little laws trying to ban People who are brown are just signs of screams from the states and their knowlege about Brownization which is going to occur But dont worry all we want is to be treated equal and become a part of the united states we wont be harsh on you guys like your doing on us. Its all about Hispanics, Latinos, and Chicano Latinos.

39. chron7 - October 15, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Here's a crazy idea. Why not set up a system that would look at illegal immigrants who wished to attend college, review their case, and then, award them green cards if they meet whatever expectations we currently have for green card holders? We'd have legal residents who were interested in a college education. Win win.

40. tsb2010 - October 15, 2010 at 01:31 pm

To 39 and similarly-minded commenters...
Don't forget about affirmative action, the only legal form of racial (and otherwise) discrimination. Perversely, that means that the illegals (I would not use the label "immigrant") will have preferential access to education (easier admission) and jobs (think of that the next time you go to the doctor).
I can't wait to see how many minutes after posting this I get the r**** label -- the liberal's response to anything that they cannot otherwise respond to in a civil way.

41. tsb2010 - October 15, 2010 at 01:32 pm

PS. nice one, #38:
You all are Racist its not their fault for being academicly better than the US Citicenzs! who do not get accepted.

I assume you made good use of AA too...

42. alvitap - October 15, 2010 at 04:37 pm

I am an indigenous "american." Why don't all of you go back to the snake warren you slithered out of? I am referring to those Nazis who posted here and think they are Americans. You're not Americans, you're invaders who've raped, murdered, and pillaged. This land belongs to the natives. Nothing you can do or say (or prohibit) will keep the rightful occupants of this land from returning to dominance,population wise and religious wise. It has already begun.

43. tsb2010 - October 18, 2010 at 09:27 am

to #42:
I gather you believe that nobody lived here before you? Where did you and your people come from - did you just jump out of the ground? Who invented the computer that you typed this on, who laid down the electricity grid that you use to power up your lamp, and who created all this - the reason why so many people want to enter this country illegally?
And who are the "natives"? Do you really believe that this country was a paradise before the 1600s?
Some stuff for thought... but I think this would be too much for the PC readers of this "journal".

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