DREAMing Of Bigger Budgets

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

What is known locally in Washington, D. C. as a dog-and-pony show is being played out across the country as proponents of the DREAM Act rally their troops to put this education spending proposal over the top. “Momentum around the DREAM Act continues to grow: from California to Maine, from Florida to Oregon, from Washington state to the steps of the Capitol, and everywhere in between,” the Center for American Progress (CAP) informs us. “These kids are rallying for hope.”

“They are calling for justice, and they are seeking what we all want—a bona fide shot at the American DREAM.” There are  just a few details CAP left out.

“The act offers permanent legal status to illegal immigrants up to age 35, who arrived in the United States before age 16, provided they complete two years of college,” the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) alleges. “Under the act, beneficiaries would receive in-state tuition. Given the low income of illegal immigrants, most can be expected to attend state schools, with a cost to taxpayers in the billions of dollars.”

“As both funds and slots are limited at state universities and community colleges, the act may reduce the educational opportunities available to U.S. citizens. The Memorandum is available online at http://cis.org/dream-act-costs.

“Among the findings:

  • “Assuming no fraud, we conservatively estimate that 1.03 million illegal immigrants will eventually enroll in public institutions (state universities or community colleges) as a result of the DREAM Act. That is, they met the residence and age requirements of the act, have graduated high school, or will do so, and will come forward.
  • “On average each illegal immigrant who attends a public institution will receive a tuition subsidy from taxpayers of nearly $6,000 for each year he or she attends for total cost of $6.2 billion a year, not including other forms of financial assistance that they may also receive.
  • “The above estimate is for the number who will enroll in public institutions. A large share of those who attend college may not complete the two full years necessary to receive permanent residence.
  • “The cost estimate assumes that the overwhelming majority will enroll in community colleges, which are much cheaper for students and taxpayers than state universities.
  • “The estimate is only for new students not yet enrolled. It does not include illegal immigrants currently enrolled at public institutions or those who have already completed two years of college. Moreover, it does not include the modest number of illegal immigrants who are expected to attend private institutions.
  • “The DREAM Act does not provide funding to states and counties to cover the costs it imposes. Since enrollment and funding are limited at public institutions, the act’s passage will require some combination of tuition increases, tax increases to expand enrollment or a reduction in spaces available for American citizens at these schools.
  • “Tuition hikes will be particular[ly] [sic] difficult for students, as many Americans already find it difficult to pay for college. Research indicates that one out of three college students drop out before receiving a degree. Costs are a major reason for the high dropout rate.
  • “In 2009 there were 10.2 million U.S. citizens under age 35 who have dropped out of college without receiving a degree. There was an additional 15.2 million citizens under age 35 who have completed high school, but have never attended college. “

The CIS based its’ analysis  “on one developed by the Migration Policy Institute, which is based on the 2006 to 2008 Current Population Survey (CPS) collected by the U.S. Census Bureau.”

“We have updated their analysis using the 2009 and 2010 CPS,” the CIS claims. “The above estimates focus on the number of illegal immigrants likely to enroll in state universities or community college.”

“ It must be emphasized that it is not an estimate of the number of individuals who are eligible for the DREAM Act amnesty or the number that will ultimately meet all the requirements for permanent residence.”

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org