Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate wants Free College for Maryland DREAMers

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Ben Jealous, the former president of the NAACP, is running for governor as a Democratic Party candidate against Republican incumbent Governor Larry Hogan. Jealous beat a more moderate, business-friendly Democrat in the primary, and has since struggled to stay relevant in the gubernatorial race as a Bernie Sanders socialist acolyte.

As a part of his progressive platform, Jealous claims he can help DREAMers obtain free in-state college tuition, the College Fix reports. As background, DREAMers are illegal immigrant children (now college-aged adults) who were granted temporary residency in the United States under the Obama administration. The name “DREAMers” derives from the 2001 legislative proposal called the “Dream Act,” which would enshrine the program into law. Because Congress did not pass it into law, the Obama administration used executive action to put the program in effect under the name Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). But, the Trump administration ended the program and gave a window for Congress to act, which it did not. Now, the termination of the program is being fought in court across the country.

Jealous had already proposed free community college tuition on the campaign trail, and added free tuition for DREAMers to his platform. But, a grant program for DREAMers already exists thanks to the Democratic majority in the state legislature, which passed it with requirements like a minimum GPA requirement and a maximum family income of $150,000.

But, how will Jealous fund his proposal to extend free college tuition to DREAMers? A tax on the top 1% of earners in the state, in addition to slashing the state’s prison population by 30% to save money. Jealous estimated that his proposal would only cost $3 million a year.

According to estimates, there are 9,800 DREAMers in Maryland, and if one multiplies that by $26,796, which is the per-year in-state tuition rate for the University of Maryland’s flagship campus, it would equal $262,600,800 a year. Even if one cuts the number of DREAMers in half, it costs over $131 million to cover free tuition.

In short, free college tuition is expensive, and progressive politicians fail to recognize the huge costs these programs impose for taxpayers and their families.