House Member Criticizes UMass In-State Tuition Program, Cites Abuse

Richard Bastien says requirements to receive in-state tuition are too lax and may be abused by non-residents and non-citizens.

A new proposal to offer in-state tuition at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to community college graduates with exceptional grades  has been met with opposition from State Representative Richard Bastien. At a hearing this week, the freshman Republican expressed concerns that the new initiative could be exploited by illegal immigrants to get a college education on the Massachusetts dime, reports “I’m not saying they shouldn’t be able to go, “ Bastien said, “They should just pay for out-of-state tuition.”

Last week, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and UMass Amherst Chancellor Robert Holub announced the new plan which will waive $1,714 in tuition fees for community college graduates with at least a 3.0 grade point average. The student would still need to pay $10,018 in student fees each year. The plan is designed to help community college students towards four-year degrees and is open only to state residents.

Bastien protested that there weren’t enough safeguards in place at UMass Amherst to make sure that the students were really legal Massachusetts residents. He declared the current requirement that the student sign a legal affidavit affirming their status to be insufficient and open to abuse.

“You could literally come down from New Hampshire, get an apartment for one month, and that would prove your residency status.’’

He added that Amherst should adopt the practice of Bunker Hill Community College which requires its students to provide a copy of their passport or birth certificate as proof of their status in order to matriculate.

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April 4th, 2011

Staff Reporter

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