As I See It: ‘Tuition equity’ has a political agenda

Letter date: 
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Letter publisher:
Letter author: 
Gabriella Morrongiello
Letter body: 

The quickest way to befriend a child is to hand them candy. Want to assure a permanent life-long supporter of liberal policies? Hand out government subsidized programs. That’s exactly the motive behind the “Tuition Equity” bill that has been adopted in many states and is now coming before the newly left-winged majority legislature of Oregon.

What so many fail to ask when advocating government handouts such as food stamps, housing vouchers, or reduced college tuition for children of illegal immigrants is: at whose expense will these programs be covered?

In the case of Oregon House Bill 2787, which proposes allowing children of illegal immigrants residing in Oregon to benefit from in-state tuition at publicly-funded universities, it is my parents and Oregon tax payers who will shoulder the financial burden.

I am a sophomore at Oregon State and one of the 8,906 out-of-state students currently attending the university.

Compared to an Oregon resident who pays roughly $8,000 annually in tuition, my parents foot a $22,000 bill each year. My tuition is substantially higher to help compensate the Oregon taxpayer for the use of bricks and mortar, the cost of faculty and administrator salaries, pensions and benefits, and maintenance and upkeep of the campus grounds.

Illegal immigrants whose children attend Oregon high schools are not paying taxes to cover the expenses for Oregon public universities either. Therefore, if these individuals wish to have their child attend an Oregon public university, I believe they ought to pay out-of-state tuition, just as I do.

The parents of these children, who entered this country illegally, are either being paid their wages in cash, as part of the “underground economy,” or by check from employers who are not withholding the income taxes they must take from legitimate, legal workers. Additionally, their children are attending public grade schools and high schools that are paid for by property and state income taxes of legal residents.

What is “fair and equitable” about that?

People break the laws of the United States when they immigrate to our country illegally. The children these individuals bring with them become a financial burden to the community in which they reside with impunity.

This is not to say these children are at fault; many are excellent citizens that work hard academically and in their community. That however, is irrelevant. As an out-of-state student, I do all I can to help lessen the financial burden my parents reap because of my choice to attend college outside of California.

I wait tables, am a paid reporter for my campus newspaper, and I keep an exemplary GPA to earn and maintain tuition reductions.

I don’t believe my hard-working, self-employed parents should face increasing tuition hikes to cover the certainty of burgeoning expenses at OSU due to skyrocketing enrollment of “Tuition Equity” students.

As availability becomes more affordable, enrollment and the need for more faculty, administrators, bricks and mortar will increase. This will all be at a cost to the Oregon tax payer and out-of-state students.

Shifting the cost for the child of an illegal immigrant to attend college to me and my parents is not tuition equity, but confiscation and redistribution.

This legislation is about giving candy to a child — and future voter — to befriend them. It will grant government mandated “goodies” to young, largely Hispanic future voters most likely to support the liberal agenda.

House Bill 2787 assists those in this country illegally while leaving law-abiding American citizens to pick up the tab.

Gabriella Morrongiello is a sophomore at Oregon State University majoring in new media communications and is chairwoman of the OSU Young Americans for Freedom.