Make Michigan's "Dreamers" In-State Eligible infographic

PRE-PROPOSAL 1. Media Artifact

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

Make Michigan's "Dreamers" In-State Eligible 

*I had a response from a DACA student, but they preferred to stay anonymous. I scheduled a meeting with the University's legal rep for undocumented students for next week and will update the infographic once I consult with him. 

2. Persona and POV statement Persona: Persona name: Maria Diaz Age: 19 School/occupation: Works two minimum wage jobs Location: Canton, Michigan   Quote: “I have dreams, but, there are obstacles in my way”   About:
  • Came to Michigan from Central America at the age of 2 with her parents in order to escape violence and find economic opportunities. Her immigration status allows her to qualify as a DACA recipient.
  • Graduated high school at top of her class and took several AP classes geared towards the sciences.
  • Cannot afford out-of-state tuition to attend Michigan State University (MSU) and limited private-scholarships are not enough to subsidize tuition.
Goals:
  • Major in biology at MSU and eventually attend medical school at The University of Michigan
  • Wants to be a Pediatrician to help underprivileged children in urban and/or rural parts of the state.
  • Finally become a citizen of the country she's only ever known and give back to the community that helped raise her.

 

POV Statement:
  • User: Maria, a passionate and determined recent graduate of high school who works two minimum wage jobs in order to save up for college, fears that her status as “working” and not continuing her educational studies will prevent her from renewing her status as a DACA recipient and hopes to save up enough money by this coming Fall so she can enroll in her first semester of college before she needs to apply to renew her “Dreamer” status for another two years.  
  • Need: Maria needs access to In-State Tuition in order to reduce the economic burden of attending college, as well as access to a suitable financial aid service that allows her to focus her attention on school and not the additional stress of having to work through her studies.
  • Insight: Having to pay out-of-state rates to attend post-secondary school as well as the cost for reapplying to the DACA 2-year work and education permit is too economically challenging for Maria to have to endure without maintaining a decent wage-paying job, which limits her time and resources from pursuing a lifelong goal.
 

 

3. Potential Solutions:

Describe three reasonable, feasible potential solutions or approaches that would help address this problem.

SOLUTION 1: Amend Michigan’s Constitution and include detail on how qualified DACA students can gain access to In-State tuition across the states public universities. Establish a "5 years of secondary schooling" within Michigan as the main requirement to receive In-State Tuition.

SOLUTION 2: Michigan’s Department of Education, the Education Committee in the Senate, and/or the Education Reform Committee in the House of Representatives can issue a resolution that requires all state public universities to establish In-State tuition guidelines for DACA and Undocumented students, similar in nature to the University of Michigan’s policy.

SOLUTION 3: Create and Establish a state-student aid fund that doesn't limit access to Undocumented and DACA students who have meet secondary schooling requirements. This is an optimistic solution that not only provides aid to DACA recipients, but to the thousands of Michigan’s college students struggling with student debt. Including a measure within such bill that allows for DACA students to receive state-sponsored aid more or less paves the way for access to In-State tuition.

BACKGROUND AND RESEARCH PROCESS Context

Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal:

House Bill 4618 from the 2013 legislative year. Would have established in-state tuition to those receiving deferred action.

 

Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan:

There are 5,660 DACA recipients as of July 31st, 2018 residing in the state of Michigan. It is estimated that there are at least 15,000 eligible-DACA recipients within the state, but less than half are enrolled in the program as high fees to apply and the short two-year deal make it an economic burden to many of whom are economically disadvantaged. Mexican, El Salvadorian , Guatemalan, and Honduran are the four nationalities that make up the most DACA recipients within the United States. Most kids were brought to America by their parents at a young age who were escaping violence or seeking better economic opportunities. In Michigan, DACA recipients tend to be located in urban regions and low-socioeconomic communities. Securing in-state tuition for these individuals will help them break that economic burden and reach for the American Dream that their parents sought after.   

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?

- The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the The Benefits of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on Immigrants in Michigan in December 2017

- One Michigan, an Immigrant support group in Michigan that helps DACA students manage education planning and advises students where to apply for college.

 

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal?

- There are no DACA recipients in the classroom where I am volunteering, however, Detroit Public Schools do educate many DACA students, and the economic challenges that these students experience exists among a majority of the classrooms across the school district, including the one I help in. Being able to support students and encourage them to learn and reach for college has helped me realize the importance of fostering the expansion of educational aid to those who are vulnerable to giving up on their studies.  

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

Make Michigan’s Dreamer’s In-State Eligible

Consultations

Talk directly with at least 3 real live people who have special knowledge about this topic or the impact your proposal would have, and summarize their comments. These may include people appearing in your media artifact (video, podcast, etc.).

CONSULTATION 1: Sam Singh- Former Democratic House Minority Leader and vice-chair for the Government Operations Committee in 2013--sponsored HB4618 and oversaw its position within committee hearings

Mr. Singh argued for the Democrats that status (that being your citizenship) shouldn’t be a determinate on whether or not someone can attend college. He stated that status can play a role in one's ability to receive government sponsored aid, but status should not prohibit one from pursuing a right to education. He also stated that institutions across the state that have not passed in-state initiatives have remained silent on the topic as “they did not want to start any controversial problems.” When I asked him if the same piece of legislation were to be brought to House and Senate floors, would it pass? He said no and the main reason being that the Republicans still hold a majority in both those chambers respectively, showing that this legislation in partisan supported, and because it involves immigration, most Republicans view it as an easy pass to gaining American Citizenship. He alluded to former Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s decision to create the Michigan Office of New Americans that supports immigration growth in the state for economic reasons, was not well liked by the governor’s own party. He stressed that DACA and the topic of immigration receives mixed feelings at the political level, but when you get to the individual level where numbers become faces, an overwhelming feeling within the state is that these people belong here and should be provided support to gain citizenship. He wanted to show that this bill was more on the notion of supporting the education sector and economic growth in the state, and less oriented around the discussion of immigration. In terms of tax revenue, he said that $13 million dollars contributed to a $55 billion dollar budget may seem like a small, insignificant proportion, but it does allude to the idea that DACA recipients are supporting the growth of the state’s economy as a whole, and providing access to higher education will ensure that tax revenue will continue to grow and the state will gain more spending dollars to use towards services that will benefit everyone within the state. On that note, he challenged an argument brought forward by Republicans that claims DACA recipients are taking services from the state and not contributing back into it, as one that is not true and a talking point that rallies people against the program.

 

CONSULTATION 2: Stephanie Chang- Former member of Michigan’s House of Representatives, and current member of Michigan’s Senate representing the 1st District of the state. One of her priorities within the Senate Chamber is arguing in support of pro-immigration policies.


***Ms. Chang has agreed to respond to my questions by the end of this coming week as she is currently busy working on matters pertaining to active legislation within the state’s Senate Chamber.*** I want to know; as someone who is an active voice for immigration rights and currently serving as an active member of the legislative body, what are her efforts in supporting DACA students and how she can comment on suggestions to a drafted bill.

CONSULTATION 3: MSU Office of the Registrar- University department that handles questions regarding in-state tuition at Michigan’s largest public institution.

I emailed Michigan State University's Office the Registrar asking them if they would be willing to speak on MSU’s reasoning for not allowing DACA students to receive in-state tuition and if they believed that should change. I got a response back from Laura Cole, the Assistant Registrar for the university and she pointed me in the direction of MSU’s Regulations for Qualifying for In-State Tuition and to Section II of the policy where it states:

 

II.  Establishing Eligibility through Michigan High School Attendance and Graduation.

 

Students who meet all of the following three (3) requirements will be eligible for in-state tuition status:

  1. Attend an accredited Michigan high school for three (3) years;

  2. Graduate from an accredited Michigan high school, or obtain a Michigan general Educational Development High School Equivalency Certificate (GED); and

  3. Start their education at the University within forty (40) months of high school graduation or receipt of a GED.  

Students are eligible to receive in-state tuition under this section regardless of whether they are domiciled in Michigan, residents of Michigan, or citizens of the United States.


At first glance, one would assume that this rule grants DACA recipients access to in-state tuition and even think that this policy is less strict than U of M’s as it only requires three years of high school In Michigan instead of the additional two in middle school that U of M requires. However, Michigan State will only grants non-citizens access to this policy if they are in pursuit of citizenship through establishing residency in the State of Michigan. DACA is not a formal step towards legal immigration, instead, it's a protection from deportation. It does not allude to one establishing intent to become a citizen, and therefore, negates the chances of DACA and undocumented students from accessing in-state tuition. This plays into Mr. Singh’s idea that other institutions do not want any controversy from the topic and will write policies that seem in favor of support for DACA students, but in the end, continues to hurt those individual's chances of attending their institution.

Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:

You must solicit a critique from a topic coordinator, and explain the impact that advice has had on the final draft of this proposal.

 

Research process:

Describe your research process — indicate who you talked to (including but not limited to consultants), what you read, what your thinking was, how it changed over time, and how your consultants changed your thinking. This description of your research process definitely could include “dead ends,” or ideas you had that didn’t ultimately bear fruit.  In short, we want to know what you did and how it led to your legislation, and we also want you to give us a window into your thought process.

In the wake of the Government Shutdown in January, I came across an article that explained a bargain deal involving the protection of the DACA program in exchange for the funding of the Southern Border Wall that President Trump offered to the Democrat’s in the House. If this was Trump’s bragin deal to the Democrats, I was interested in understanding the program’s place in the context of politics. After reading into the program and its relevance in Michigan, I was surprised to find that although recipients are granted a two-year working permit and no threat to deportation, many were not continuing their education while most were in the workforce. One main reason was that all but one of Michigan’s public universities did not allow DACA enrollees to have access to in-state tuition, meaning they had to pay out-of-state tuition; $45,000 or more, and, they do not have access to federal financial aid. Many of the DACA recipients are economically disadvantaged and use their DACA status to maintain a job in order to save up for college. However, Trump’s position on the DACA program points to termination of the program entirely, meaning all that saving up could be for nothing and their chances of deportation grow higher than their chance of going to college. In 2013, Democratic members of Michigan’s House of Representatives brought to the floor a bill that would amend Michigan’s Constitution granting DACA recipients access to in-state tuition if they have received a majority of their secondary education in the state. With a Republican controlled chamber, the bill died in committee and to date, DACA recipients cannot gain access to in-state tuition. In the 6 years since, the program’s status is up for question, but, state revenue reports show that DACA participants contribute increasing dollars for the state, and if lost, taxable revenue would drop by more than 7 million dollars. With the notion that a degree in higher education brings better paying jobs, now is the time to pass an amendment to the State’s Constitution that grants access to in-state tuition for the recipients in efforts to protect the state’s tax revenue and invest in its growth as well as showing the success of this program as a path to citizenship.

 

When coming up with a resolved bill, I looked to the University of Michigan’s policy that was approved in 2014, establishing in-state residency based on school-attendance, and not just legal residency. The School-Attendance approach follows these guidelines:

“You also may qualify for in-state tuition by demonstrating all of the following: (1) you attended an accredited Michigan high school for at least three years and thereafter (a) graduated from an accredited Michigan High School or (b) received a Michigan General Educational Development High School Equivalency Certificate (GED); (2) you attended an accredited Michigan middle or junior high school for the two years preceding high school; and (3) you are commencing your education at the University within twenty-eight months of graduating from the Michigan high school or receiving your GED.”


I believe that this approach (school-attendance) to granting access to in-state tuition is what will work best for the state of Michigan, as it proves that these Federally approved individuals have resided in the State for year prior to college and that they were not newcomers, trying to reap the benefits of the system.

Author contributions:

Please delineate--in detail--who made what contributions to the process and to the finished proposal? Who took on which responsibilities in researching ideas, drafting language, etc.?

FORMAL PROPOSAL

The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform.

Preambulatory clauses

These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.

WHEREAS....Michigan’s constitution currently establishes in-state tuition based on residency.

WHEREAS....Federally approved DACA recipients have to pay out-of-state tuition and cannot access financial aid, leaving them to rely on limited, private scholarships.

WHEREAS....Annually, DACA recipients contribute $13 million in tax revenue, and if rescinded, the state could lose more than half of that contribution.

WHEREAS …. A college degree secures higher paying jobs and therefore more taxable revenue for the state.

 

WHEREAS…. Of the 16 four-year public institutions in Michigan, only the University of Michigan has established school-attendance tuition policy for DACA students

 

(Add more "Whereas" clauses if necessary.)

Operative clauses

These describe in detail, the solution you are proposing (not the problem itself; those should go in the "Whereas" clauses above).

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED....

1. Amend the State's Constitution to include school-attendance as a method of establishing in-state tuition for DACA and undocumented students residing in the state.

2. If DACA is rescinded in the near future, school-attendance policy will still help those undocumented students pursue a degree in higher education and prove that they can be a valuable asset to the state and therefore pursuant of citizenship.

3. Allowing for DACA recipients to gain access to state-funded scholarships (merit based, etc.) will further their ability to overcome economic struggles while attending college. (Add more "Resolved" clauses if necessary.)

Counter-arguments:

What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?

1. The DACA Program enables individuals to take services provided by federal and state governments and does not ensure that they will contribute back into the system.

2. If less than 50% of DACA eligible individuals are enrolled in the program, it is a waste in spending resources and under representing those who are supposed to benefit from it.

3. An amendment would still leave the institutions to determine final residency protocols and a bill would force these universities to rush to amend their policies, making for rushed decisions that might get overlooked in the process.

Costs and funding:

What will your proposal cost (in direct expenses, lost tax revenue, lost economic opportunity, and/or non-monetary costs)? How will you pay for your proposed legislation? Where will/could the funding for your proposal come from?  Who might object to dedicating resources to your proposal (competing interests)?  

 

References:

These can include websites or other information you have found about the issue.

Michigan League for Public Policy- The Benefits of DACA on Immigrants in Michigan

 

One Michigan & Michigan Immigrants Right Center- Undocumented Student Guide to College

 

University of Michigan- Undocumented Students page under Financial Aid

 

ULead Network- In-State Tuition Policy Michigan

 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services- DACA

 
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