The Illinois General Assembly is considering a billthat would expand the state’s higher education financial-aid considerations at public universities to include students who are undocumented but meet requirements for in-state tuition. The students would be eligible for funds administered by the state, state agencies and the universities.
First, it is immoral to force taxpayers, many of whom can’t afford college for themselves or their children, to pay for college for others — citizens or not.I urge the Legislature to consider abolishing a financial-aid system that causes more problems than it solves.
Second, Illinois is in dire financial straits. Financial-aid programs would be a great place to start cutting. Eliminate them in their entirety.
Third, government tuition assistance simply drives up the costs of college. Scholarships and grants for higher education should remain the function of the private sector. Companies experiencing a shortage of skills have shirked their responsibility for their own candidate pool by looking to government solutions. We would all be better served if companies offered human capital contracts. Such contracts bind the employee to work for a certain number of years, effectively repaying a loan.
Fourth, government money, both federal and state, has created an education bubble.
In my experience with for-profit institutions, I found that many engage in predatory recruiting practices, marketing to those least capable of success in a collegiate role. Their business model is to recruit anyone to whom they can sell the dream of changing their life. And they are effective at selling the dream, regardless of how suited the student is to the program or college at all.But that doesn’t matter because in their business model, they are profitable after only a few terms. While the student might fail miserably, incur insurmountable debt without attaining a greater capacity to repay the debt and become convinced that he or she is indeed a failure with no way out of their plight, the schools have boosted their profit and that’s all that matters to the institutions.
When it comes to assisting the undocumented, let’s reform our immigration policies to meet the needs of the millions who choose to live and thrive in this country while keeping out those who want to harm us.
Rae Ann McNeilly is executive director ofTaxpayers United of America, which is based in Chicago.