BOR bans undocumented students from schools

The Board of Regents (BOR) of the University System of Georgia (USG) recently passed the proposal to ban entry of undocumented students into several of Georgia’s public universities. These five universities include Tech, UGA, GCSU, GSU and the Medical College of Georgia. Georgia is the second state to implement a policy of this kind, following South Carolina, which bans undocumented students from all public state institutions.
The BOR has directed these Georgia schools to no longer allow undocumented students to enroll in their universities, starting in Fall 2011.
Under the new policy, there will be new options added to these school applications that ask the potential student to define his or her legal terms of residency and citizenship.
Tech plans to put these policies into effect starting Summer 2011, ahead of the BOR schedule.
“This summer [2010] when we reviewed student records, there were only four we could identify that were undocumented. However, none were receiving state benefits in tuition, which initially was what the BOR wanted to nail down,” said Richard Clark, Director of Undergraduate Admissions.
Opinions among students and faculty over the new policy vary.
“It’s hard for me to understand why anyone would want to prevent undocumented students to get an education, especially if they are paying lots of money for it,” said Celia Montes-Alcalá, an associate professor in the School of Modern Languages.
Montes-Alcalá is from Spain, where education is free to everyone, including immigrants.
“Many other immigrants come to the US to study and gain their citizenship. They earn their rights legally,” said Shivani Bhatnagar, a naturalized citizen and third-year MSE major said.
The BOR is a collection of state citizens appointed by the governor to serve the public within the University System of Georgia.
This proposal was not politically motivated, according to John Millsaps, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Media and Publications for the USG.
“The USG must be responsive to the public will [and] it is the job of the regents to respond,” Millsaps said.
The topic of undocumented students resurfaced in an incident at KSU in May 2010 when an enrolled student was incorrectly categorized for in-state tuition. In Oct., it was suggested to the BOR that they strengthen the citizenship identification process.
One of the main public perceptions that motivated the regents to pass this proposal in early Oct. was that the USG is filled with many undocumented students.
“The truth of the situation is that we are not being overrun by these students,” Millsaps said.
USG has 310,000 students, 501 of whom are undocumented.
There is a total of 29 undocumented students attending three of the five affected institutions. Those institutions are Tech, UGA and GSU. There are currently two undocumented students at Tech.
“Step back and think about a documented individual who is declined admission to UGA. It’s not the end of the world. That person has other options for college open within the University System. The same options are available to undocumented students,” Millsaps said.
There are 30 other higher education institutions in the Georgia, none of which are affected by the new policy.

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