Topeka The annual battle in the Kansas Legislature over in-state tuition for some undocumented students started Tuesday.
State Rep. Brett Hildabrand, R-Merriam, introduced a bill in the House Federal and State Affairs Committee that would repeal the state law that allows students whose parents brought them to Kansas illegally to pay the lower cost in-state college tuition.
Hildabrand said many of his constituents have told him they don't like the current law because it "rewards" those who don't abide by the rule of law.
Federal and State Affairs Committee Chairman Arlen Siegfreid, R-Olathe, said he hasn't set a date yet on a hearing for the bill.
Under the current Kansas law, students are considered Kansas residents eligible for in-state tuition if they graduated from a Kansas high school or received a GED, have lived in the state for three years and pledge to become citizens.
Approximately 600 students are benefiting from the law at state universities, community colleges and technical colleges, according to the Kansas Board of Regents.
The law has been on the books since 2004. Numerous unsuccessful attempts to repeal it have been made.
The difference between paying in-state and out-of-state tuition is significant. A first-time freshman who entered Kansas University last fall paid $8,790 per year for tuition if he or she was considered a Kansas resident. A nonresident paid $21,750.
In the past, undocumented students have said they would have been unable to attend college by paying the out-of-state tuition.
The Kansas Board of Regents has said it supports the current law and will oppose attempts to repeal.
In a recent interview, Regents Vice Chairman Fred Logan Jr. defended the law.
"It's also important for our economy because those students are going to have better training, better education, and they are going to be really great productive citizens here in Kansas," he said.