State doesn't have cash to fund college grants for illegal immigrants

It would be great if the state had enough money to grant aid to every student in the state, legal or not. That's far from the case. Lawmakers must now make cuts.


A college education has never been more expensive than it is now.

The tuition rates at state colleges and universities have seen double-digit increases the past few years. The increase in college costs mean the pool of cash for financial aid does not go as far.

And this week’s state budget projection shows a $1.3 billion (yes, with a B) gap between anticipated tax revenue and anticipated expenses.

Yet, the state House on Wednesday approved 77-20 a proposal that would make young illegal immigrants eligible for state college financial aid.

In theory, if money was no object, offering every qualified kid — whether born in the U.S. or an immigrant, legal or illegal — an opportunity to get a college education would be reasonable.

But clearly money is a huge issue. The plan approved by the House, when calculating the estimated number of illegal immigrants eligible, will require adding about $3.3 million over the next two years to the State Needs Grant program.

But if lawmakers add $3.3 million to the financial aid program, money will be taken from other programs or taxes added. If no more funding is available (a more likely scenario), the pool of applicants will grow for the same number of (or, perhaps, fewer) slots to receive aid. That’s the hard reality of this situation.

It doesn’t feel right cutting off aid to citizens and essentially giving it to illegal immigrants.

An earlier version of the legislation seemed far more appropriate than the version that’s now on its way to the Senate for debate.

That version made eligible only young immigrants who had qualified for the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Obama’s program offers two-year renewable permission to stay in the U.S. for young illegal immigrants (under age 31) who arrived in the country before their 16th birthday. Young immigrants allowed to stay under the Obama program are in the U.S. legally, albeit temporarily.

It would be great if every child had access to higher education and the opportunity to pay for it. That’s not the case. The money is not available to serve all.

Lines have to be drawn somewhere in establishing eligibility standards for state financial aid grants. Income level and grade-point average, for example, are used.

Legal status is a reasonable place to draw one of those lines.


mwood 2 years, 5 months ago

I agree with the UB opinion. Our Governor seems to believe he is in the white house sitting next to our president who has no problem spending money we do not have. Our Governor's priorities in this fiscally challenging time seems to be global warming and funding higher education for people in our country illegally. I am worrying about paying for my daughter's college. And yes, I know many readers are now calling me names however I am not a biased person. I have traveled to other parts of the world and enjoy living and interacting with people of differing cultures. My experience is that only in the United States are "visitors" to our country not expected to abide by local customs and laws. In this eastern part of Washington state we are hostages to the higher population on the west (left) side of the state, we do not matter. It is because of this that I do not hold out much hope for a change of direction from Olympia. We are being driven by liberal Olympia and we will be driven until we wreck.


namvet60 2 years, 5 months ago

I don't understand the infatuation of these politicians looking for reasons to give away taxpayer dollars? If you have committed an illegal act you have committed a crime. If you have committed a crime you are a criminal and should be placed in the justice system for trial and not be rewarded with monies to get a college education. What about the homeless - what about the unemployed - what about the legal citizens struggling to get an education but there tuition is raised so we can support illegals. There are times when I'm actually speechless when some of these politicians come out with these insane and unlawful ideas!


PearlY 2 years, 5 months ago

In the European Union, they've solved this problem of spending without regard to the consequences. Now the government of Cyprus will simply seize money out of its citizens' bank accounts, up to 12.5% if you've been particularly frugal and saved up over 100,000 Euros. Of course, they have to do that because individual countries can no longer print their way out of their spending excesses. Much like individual states in the U.S. Maybe that's what Gov. Inslee has in mind for us down the road.


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