Regents approve new policies

ATLANTA – The Georgia Board of Regents today adopted a series of policies aimed restricting illegal immigrants from attending public colleges and universities.

Under one of the four policies adopted, illegal immigrants can no longer attend a state school if that institution turned away “academically qualified” students in the previous two years. Also, applicants must now state on their application whether they are seeking in-state tuition; that, officials say, will help determine whether they need to verify an applicant’s residency.

The new policies take effect next fall.

“We are an educational agency in the business of preparing individuals for careers requiring knowledge and skills; we are not in the immigration business, nor are we equipped to serve as the immigration authorities,” Regent James Jolly, who chaired the Residency Verification Committee, said in a news release. “However, these new policies do strengthen our ability to ensure proper tuition classification for all students – a process and a commitment the System has undertaken and met since being formed in 1931.”

The issue garnered public attention after a Kennesaw State University student in the country illegally was arrested in Cobb County; she was not deported. In response to public complaints, the Board of Regents conducted a review to determine the number of illegal immigrants attending public colleges and universities.

That review found there are 501 illegal immigrants attending state universities or colleges as of this fall; all are paying out-of-state tuition. There are a total of 310,000 students enrolled in state schools.

“The fact that we have so few undocumented students and that at present, all are properly classified for tuition purposes, shows that our admissions departments are doing their job, and doing it quite well,” Jolly said.

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