The cost of government always seems to be a grossly underestimated thing, like the time it will take to complete a renovation project, or what time your teenage daughter will get home from a party. We, the taxpayer, begin to feel like Charlie Brown kicking a football when it comes to estimates of cost from any governmental entity or action.
When our Democrat legislators sponsored SB167, the bill now known as the Maryland Dream Act, which grants tax-subsidized in-state tuition to illegal aliens, the Department of Legislative Services issued a fiscal note. The fiscal note is supposed to estimate the costs and financial impacts of the legislation for consideration by the General Assembly. The fiscal note estimated that, five years after passage, the cost to the state for community college tuition subsidies alone would be about $3.5 million.
I’ve done a little number crunching, and I believe Lucy’s got her hands on the football.
To qualify for in-state tuition means that Maryland taxpayers pay for the difference between out-of-state (OS) tuition rates and in-state (IS) tuition rates. At the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP), the OS rate is about $25,000 per year, and the IS rate is about one-third of that at $8,000 per year. The tax-funded subsidy is then about $17,000 per year.
At the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), the OS tuition and fees is about $9,900 per year and the in-county rate is about $3,450 per year. The annual tax-funded subsidy is then about $6,500.
For an illegal alien to qualify, they must first attend a community college for two years (at IS rates). Then they can attend a four-year institution for as long as they wish; there is no limit to the number of years nor the student’s age. [Consider this: an 18 year old can wait up to four years to apply to the community college. Finishes at age 24. Can wait up to another four years to apply to the four year school. Does three years there, graduating at age 31. Can then go on to graduate school and be a middle-aged tax-funded tuition recipient.]
Two years at CCBC at $6,500 per year cost to taxpayers = $13,000.
Three years at UMCP at $17,000 per year cost to taxpayers = $51,000.
Total per student = $64,000 at taxpayer expense. Divide by five years = $13,000 per year.
Now, to estimate the number of students who may reasonably qualify, the Department of Legislative Services said it was 100 per year immediately. I’m a bit skeptical of Lucy, so I looked at the University of California. The Dream Act requires colleges to report on the number of Dream Act students they admit each year through the state’s Higher Education Commission.
Since it’s inception in 2001, Dreamers at UC have increased steadily every year at an average of 20% per year. In the 2008-9 school year, the last year for which I could find a report, they constituted just under 1% of the student population and received $35 million in tuition subsidies at UC alone for just over 2,000 students. That 1% figure seems to be consistent across the 12 states which have passed the Dream Act, and was concurred with by Dream Act supporters in Maryland.
Current total enrollment at Maryland’s public four-year colleges is about 125,000 students per year. 1% of that is 1,250 students. At $13,000 each per year, that’s over $16 million of taxpayer expense. This does not even take into account the increase in demand which will drive up the total number of students enrolled in Maryland colleges.
Dream Act supporters will say those costs will be off-set by their increased productivity due to having a college degree. Putting aside that employers cannot legally hire these workers in Maryland, the other costs of illegal aliens in our state for education in K-12, health care, and incarceration comes to an estimated $1.4 billion with a “B”, after accounting for the taxes received from them in sales, property, and income tax.
As Maryland implements rewards for illegal behavior, it becomes an increasingly attractive sanctuary state, currently the 11th highest concentration of illegals in the nation per the Federation for American Immigration Reform. So implementation of the Maryland Dream Act would be a downward-spiraling money pit from which Lucy could not save us.
Stop, you had me at illegal.
Vote Against the Referred Law on Question 4 on November 6.
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