Georgia’s public colleges have adopted new policies that officials say will prevent illegal immigrants from attending five high-demand schools and from being admitted ahead of legally and academically qualified residents at the rest of the state’s public institutions of higher learning.
The State Board of Regents, which oversees public colleges in Georgia, also approved legal penalties for providing incorrect information on tuition-related forms.
The regents, who have been under public pressure about the admission of illegal immigrants, say the issue not been a significant problem.
Only 501 of 310,000 students within the university system are undocumented and they already pay out-of-state tuition, said regents spokesman John Millsaps.
But the new tuition policy, which takes effect in fall 2011, enables Georgia to “strengthen the ability of institutions to properly classify students for tuition purposes,” the board said in a statement after the vote Wednesday.
“We are an educational agency in the business of preparing individuals for careers requiring knowledge and skills,” said regent James Jolly. “We are not in the immigration business, nor are we equipped to serve as the immigration authorities.”