Three residents of Montgomery County, Maryland have filed a lawsuit against Montgomery College, stating that the college should stop providing discounts and the lowest tuition rates available to illegal immigrants. The civil lawsuit is aimed at stopping the long standing policy within the school to provide in county tuition to graduates from Montgomery public schools within the previous three years. The school does not take the immigration status of these students into consideration. However, all other students who apply to the school must provide and meet immigration status.
Of the school’s budget, $208 million of it came from county and state appropriations, which accounts for 60 percent of the budget for the 2011 year. The goal of the policy, the school claims, is to provide low cost access to more students.
In the state, students are given free K – 12 public educations no matter what their immigration status is. However, state laws prohibit these students from receiving tuition assistance for higher education. There are two lawmakers currently working to reverse this, this year. This includes State Senators Richard Madaleno and Victor Ramirez. The legislation proposed would make it possible for some undocumented students to be eligible to receive tuition assistance from public schools in the state.
McDonough, who is a Republican delegate from Baltimore County, who wants stricter immigration laws, stated about the school, “They are public officials using taxpayer month for an unlawful act.” He says that the civil lawsuit brought against the school is just the first step and stated that he plans to file criminal lawsuits with the state as well as the FBI’s public corruption unit. An investigation has been ongoing for the last six months with the school, including audits obtained during the report. In one report, the school provided in-county tuition for more than 11,000 credit hours annually to students who did not verify their legal status.
The lawsuit also claims that the school could have collected some $5.9 million in the last three years if it had charged out-of-state rates to those students. For a three credit course, the cost for in-county residents is $321 where as for those who are out-of-state residents, the cost is $897.