The state Senate yesterday voted to pass Senate Bill 458, which would prevent undocumented students from attending any of Georgia’s 60 public colleges. Laws are on the books that already stop undocumented students from attending any colleges with a competitive application process (includes the top five state schools), as well as making the undocumented students — many of whom have spent most of their lives in Georgia — pay out-of-state tuition. The state estimates that one tenth of one percent of students in the system are undocumented or roughly 300 out of about about 318,000 students.
Chancellor Hank Huckaby of the University System of Georgia came out against the law in his testimony Feb. 22 before the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying “I believe our current policy addresses the concerns some of you have that the System should ensure that all undocumented students pay out-of-state tuition, that no Georgians should be denied a seat in college if they were academically qualified because of an undocumented student, and that educating undocumented students would not cost Georgia taxpayers.”
Huckaby added: “Graduating more students is a key goal of the System as we work to help Georgia prosper. Even for those who are here through no fault of their own, it makes sense to me that we should educate them to the highest level possible. It helps our state economically, culturally, and educationally.”
Despite his testimony, the Senate voted 34-19 in favor of the bill, largely along party lines. No Democrats voted for it.