Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous has proposed extending his plan of free community college tuition to DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — recipients, those under the Obama administration program which allowed certain illegal immigrants who came to the US as children to work and study.
Free community college already was a platform of Jealous’s campaign; he added those covered by DACA early last month.
According to The Diamondback, Jealous would scrap grant program legislation signed by Governor Larry Hogan which, although incorporating DACA recipients, contains requirements such as a minimal GPA and a maximum family income of $150,000.
Jealous has said he would raise taxes for his plan, which would cost $3 million a year, The Capital Gazette reported, but has proposed funding would come from the top 1 percent of earners in Maryland and the money saved from reducing the prison population by 30 percent, according to The Washington Post.
Sydney Poretsky, the president of this university’s College Democrats chapter, said it will be worthwhile.
She compared the proposal to the installation of a heated sidewalk outside the governor’s mansion in 2016. The $130,000 sidewalk, which a state agency installed so it wouldn’t need to be shoveled in the winter, was soundly condemned by Maryland Democrats in 2016.
“If we can allocate funds that way, we should be educating people as well,” she said.
Ben Colebrook, the president of the university’s College Republicans chapter, said he doesn’t think Jealous’ plan is viable.
Given the prevalence of violent crime in Baltimore — the city had its highest murder rate ever last year — Colebrook thinks the payment method could be dangerous.
“It’s not a good idea to just take funding from the prison system, to cut that kind of stuff, because it just makes our streets less safe,” he said.
Laura Bohorquez Garcia, the University of Maryland’s undocumented student program coordinator, said “a lot of students” were inquiring about Jealous’s plan.
“For them, obviously, as many other students, it’s a big shock when you go from paying that amount to a four-year institution for the tuition,” she said.
MORE: Public univ. funds students’ DACA renewal application fees
MORE: Thirty-plus professors arrested during pro-DACA street protest
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