U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan apparently thinks states should treat college students from other countries more favorably than they do those from other states. Legislators in most states are right to disagree with him on that.
Duncan on Monday praised states that allow children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities. Just 12 states do that.
About 65,000 "undocumented" students graduate from U.S. high schools every year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Only about 5 percent of them go on to college. Obviously, cost is a barrier to many.
But cost is an obstacle to most young American citizens who want to further their educations. Why should Ohio, West Virginia or Pennsylvania grant in-state tuition rates to children of illegal immigrants when the states in our region do not provide such a break to citizens from most other states?
We should not, of course. In-state tuition rates recognize the fact public colleges and universities are subsidized heavily by taxpayers in their states - by citizens. Of course children of citizens of their respective state should get lower tuition at public institutions in their states.
Clearly, Duncan and his boss, President Barack Obama, are hoping to gain Hispanic votes in the 2012 presidential election. Again, however, legislators in our region are right to withhold favorable tuition treatment from the children of illegal immigrants.