JW Files Taxpayer Lawsuit against Maryland Community College for Unlawfully Giving Illegal Aliens In-State Tuition Benefits
JANUARY 20, 2011
Montgomery College Unlawful Tuition Policy Violates Federal and Maryland Law and Places a Substantial Financial Burden on Montgomery County Taxpayers; Delegate Pat McDonough: “Issue is Essential to Promote Maryland’s Security and Economic Stability”
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305
Under federal law, unlawfully present aliens generally are ineligible for state or local public benefits, including post-secondary education benefits such as reduced tuition, unless a state has enacted a law affirmatively providing for such eligibility. The State of Maryland has never enacted a law affirmatively providing that unlawfully present aliens are eligible to receive reduced, in-county tuition at public institutions of higher education, including community colleges such as Montgomery College…Pursuant to Maryland law, “Montgomery College is required to charge out-of-state tuition to any student who attends a community college in the State of Maryland and is not a resident of the State…”Defendant Board’s long-standing policy is causing substantial, pecuniary loss to taxpayers in Montgomery County and the State of Maryland. By providing reduced, in-county tuition to all students who graduate from Montgomery County public high schools, regardless of their residence or status as unlawfully present aliens, Montgomery College is failing to collect revenue that, by state and federal law, it is required to collect.
By law, the tuition paid by a student who attends community college is determined by a student’s place of residence. Students who are residents of the county or counties supporting the community college they attend are charged an in-county rate. Students who are residents of the State of Maryland, but reside outside the county or counties supporting the community college they attend are charged an instate rate. Students who reside outside the State of Maryland are charged an out-of-state rate.However, Montgomery College has a long-standing policy of providing graduates of Montgomery County public high schools, including illegal aliens who unlawfully reside in the United States, the lowest “in county” tuition rate regardless of their place of residence. Montgomery College described this policy in financial statements for Fiscal Years 2007, 2008 and 2009: “[T]he Montgomery College policy is applicable to all persons, equally, and includes all citizens as well as undocumented aliens…” The tuition policy was formally adopted by Montgomery College’s Board of Trustees on November 15, 2010.Between 2006 and 2009, Montgomery College failed to collect $5,870,852 in tuition fees due to its policy of unlawfully allowing a discounted “in county” tuition rate to illegal aliens and other “out of state” students.The policy has been questioned by the College’s own auditors. Maryland State Delegate Pat McDonough first alerted Judicial Watch to this issue last year, prompting Judicial Watch to conduct an independent investigation, which led to this taxpayer lawsuit.“Montgomery College’s funneling of tax dollars to tuition benefits for illegal aliens is against the law. The policy is especially egregious in this age of government budget crises,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Our taxpayer clients hope the court will put a stop to Montgomery College’s policy of providing illegal perks at taxpayer expense.”