Archive for Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tuition lawsuit cost state $175,000

July 6, 2008


— It has cost the state nearly $175,000 to defend a law that allows some undocumented students to pay in-state tuition for higher education.

The law, enacted in 2004, was challenged by a group of parents and non-Kansas students represented by Kris Kobach, chairman of the Kansas Republican Party.

But a federal district court and appeals court dismissed the case, saying the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to challenge the law because they couldn't show they were harmed. In other words, even if the law were struck down, those students would still pay out-of-state tuition rates, which are higher than in-state.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to review the case.

Kobach said he was considering whether to mount another legal challenge. He said a different set of plaintiffs could be used, or the case could be filed in state court.

"No court has ever reached the merits of the lawsuit," Kobach said.

The law allows some illegal immigrants to pay the same lower tuition rates as legal Kansans at state universities, community colleges and technical schools. The immigrant student must have lived in Kansas at least three years, graduated from a Kansas high school, and seek or promise to seek legal status.

In Kansas, 243 students are receiving the in-state tuition under the law, according to the Kansas Board of Regents. Most are attending community colleges.

The legal wrangling has cost the state $164,139, according to Ashley Anstaett, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Stephen Six. She said another $10,700 bill will be paid shortly.

The firm that had represented the state in the litigation was Spencer Fane Britt & Browne of Kansas City, Mo. But Anstaett said most of the legal work had been done in-house in an effort to reduce reliance on outside counsel.


dlkrm 9 years, 10 months ago

Beobachter and karl_rubis:Beginning around 1995, the Kansas colleges determined that you once you enroll as a non-resident, it is virtually impossible to ever become a resident for tuition purposes. What worked for beobachter won't work anymore.

Karl Rubis 9 years, 10 months ago

The issue here is one of equity for American citizens. I agree that their attainment of education is a positive move for Kansas, but why don't we give them the same considerational basis as legal residents and citizens. Let them attend school and pay out-of-state rates! I came to Lawrence in 2004 (4 years resident), attend graduate school at KU working towards a Ph.D, serve in the Navy Reserve and spent a year in Iraq, BUT I cannot get in-state rates at KU. I have looked into it, and according to their rules on residency, I am always an out-of-state resident! Where is the equity in that?!

Frank Smith 9 years, 10 months ago

Let's do the numbers:There are only 243 undocumented students in Kansas colleges, most of them in community colleges.Kobach, grandstanding at taxpayer expense once again, forced the state to spend $174,839 defending his lawsuit. That works out to $718 for each undocumented student in higher education. In state community colleges tuition is low. $59 a credit hour at KCKJC, for instance. The undocumented students probably are enrolling in more rural colleges, however. At Garden City CC, tuition is $41 pre credit hour for in-state students, $65 for out-of-state students. Student fees are the same per credit hour for each class of enrollees. Even if students were taking a full load, say 13 units, the savings to undocumented students or cost to the state would only be $312 yearly. That small amount, of course, might make the school unaffordable to the undocs. Lower enrollment means higher costs per student due to economy of scale.Rural Kansas is dying. 85 counties have lost population since 1900. Anglo kids are moving to the cities or out of state for better job opportunities. If it were not for undocs, you could't get a roof on your house or meat at the supermarket or an oil well drilled. You couldn't get your lawn mowed or motel bed made or dishes washed. The parents of these kids have been here for decades, often, and they're staying, giving CPR to rural economies. The kids are much more likely to stay here, where their extended families are.Anyone knows that an educated society is a prosperous society. So why are the Republicans and Kobach working against the interest of rural Kansas? Why are they hyperventilating over a non-issue? It is because they feel that directing hatred against undocs will garner them votes. But as usual, Republican economic policies, expressed as educational policy in this instance, makes no sense at all.

texburgh 9 years, 10 months ago

Madmike does not understand immigration law in the US.Children brought by their parents have no standing - they are technically not legal or illegal until they reach the age of majority. Many have been raised almost entirely in the US and consider themselves Americans. They cannot apply independently for citizenship before college age so cannot become "legal" on their own. In the meantime, they pay sales taxes (as do their parents), payroll taxes (as do many of the parents), property taxes (yes, renters indirectly pay property taxes). This was the argument used successfully years ago that determined these children could attend public schools k-12. When they get to college age, the law now allows them to pay in-state tuition (NOT a discount, not better than Kansas citizens). But they must also meet other criteria not on others - they must have a diploma or GED issued in Kansas, they must have attended a Kansas high school for at least three years, and they must either be pursuing or sign an affidavit stating their intent to pursue legal status as soon as they are able. If you come from out of state, you get a driver's license and live here for a year and you get the in-state tuition rate. It's a better deal for out of staters. This is why Kobach's xenophobic lawsuit continues to be tossed out. His plaintiffs have not been harmed. End of story. These children did nothing wrong. They should not be penalized or criminalized. If you want to go after their parents, by all means do so. But don't punish the children for the sins of the parents. And if you want to stop illegal immigration, ask the Kansas Chamber of Commerce to stop using their lobbyists and influence to block all penalties to employers who hire them. If the jobs aren't there, they won't come. Get Americans working for a living wage, health benefits, and a decent work week. All things opposed by the Chamber.

Sean Livingstone 9 years, 10 months ago

The issue of illegal immigration must be looked at rationally. It is the huge number of immigrants that brought life to Kansas. Imagine without those German immigrants, I cannot imagine Western Kansas will ever be populated at all. Now, it's time to look at new immigrants, and immigration into the United States has become pretty difficult.

jayhawklawrence 9 years, 10 months ago

I guess it is getting harder to find any conservative issues left that get any traction. This is a sad use of our tax money. What else is new?Maybe the Republicans need to tear down the current platform and build a brand new one from the ground up. The current one is ready for the wrecking ball.And retire Nuefeld at the same time. He's history.

davidsmom 9 years, 10 months ago

I respect Dr. Kobach but I wonder why he would take on a case that didn't have any merit. Surely he could have predicted this outcome. I would like to be able to read his arguments on behalf of the plaintiffs.

WilburM 9 years, 10 months ago

Why would you respect "Dr.Kobach?" He's been on an anti-immigrant toot for years, and all it has done is to cost him politically and now cost the GOP. He's an ideologue and a divisive force. And he's a loser in court.

texburgh 9 years, 10 months ago

Kobach and his fellow xenophobes, homophobes, and general haters-of-all-that-don't-look-like-them have taken over the Kansas Republican Party and are driving it into decline and, if things don't change, extinction. Kansas is no longer red - it's purple and turning blue. I say, "Thank you 'Dr. Kobach'!" Keep up the good work!

Grump 9 years, 10 months ago

". . . I wonder why he would take on a case that didn't have any merit."He wants to be Kansas' next A.G. and is trying to rally his conservative base?

Karl Rubis 9 years, 10 months ago

You weren't clear, and you are still mistaken. According to the KU regents guidlines on residency, income versus expenditures does not matter. Take a read of the guidlines found on the KU registrars webpage. It does not mention income vs. expenditures at all.For residency, what does matter (if you did not graduate from a Kansas high school) is the fact that you are present in Kansas for one year AND that you prove domicile with the intent that you will make Kansas your PERMANENT home. For this permanency stipulation, income as a student does not count. When a couple arrives in KS and the non-student takes a job, that would possibly satisfy the intent clause. BUT, if you are a single student, just attending KU (and getting paid in whatever capacity) does not qualify you to meet the permanency guidlines. I know many out-of-state grad students who came here and could not get in-state residency based on their own merits, despite their job or time spent in KS.The board usually considers a grad student to be in a non-permanent status simply by fact that they are a grad student who will possibly leave KS when finished.I don't know where you got the idea of income vs. expenditures, but that is not written in the guidlines nor application paperwork, nor comments put out by the office, nor the experience of the people who have applied and been denied.

Karl Rubis 9 years, 10 months ago

Beo, you are confusing two different situations. Establishing residency for the state of kansas is easy. I also did that immediately and am a resident. BUT, residency for the state school system is different. its rules are governed by the state school system, in this case, the KU board of regents and its rules are much different, and much more restrictive.

fletch 9 years, 10 months ago

Can we bill Krazy Kris for the money?

Baille 9 years, 10 months ago

If Kline had half a brain, he would be Kobach.

Karl Rubis 9 years, 10 months ago

Your response is key in what it says. Since it was your spouse applying for residency, I don't doubt that s/he received it, due to the fact that there was another person in the household that was not attending school and was earning income. It gives the impression that the sole purpose was not to come to KS to get a degree and leave (whether that is the case or not). But, for single grad students, they get caught in this predicament and fail in the permanency requirement. The gripe that just gets grad students so annoyed is due to the fact that graduate school engenders students to come from all over the country when the program is good. This creates a good reputation for the school and increases attention and academic standing. It creates a positive spiral.But, they cannot get instate tuition after a year of residency (despite doing all the resident responsibilities - pay taxes, vote, driver's license, etc...) and are billed the higher expense. It is really counter-productive. KU should allow graduate students to receive the residency which would improve the attraction of living in KS and benefit all around. Even if they leave, they leave with a better opinion of KS and the school. Good situation all around.What it creates now is a bunch of students, who are legal residents in all situations, but the one in which they want to dedicate their lives. Very ironic.

Baille 9 years, 10 months ago

"I came to Lawrence in 2004 (4 years resident), attend graduate school at KU working towards a Ph.D, serve in the Navy Reserve and spent a year in Iraq, BUT I cannot get in-state rates at KU. I have looked into it, and according to their rules on residency, I am always an out-of-state resident! Where is the equity in that?!"Then hire Kris to sue to force the state to recognize you as a resident. That will also fail, but it would make more sense than trying to screw a bunch of kids whose education will make our state stronger.

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