New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says he is closer to approving a bill that would allow residents brought to the U.S. illegally as children to pay the “in-state” tuition rate at Rutgers and other universities.
Christie had said in the past that only lawfully present taxpayers deserve the tuition break.
During his last debate with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono, Christie said he has been waiting for the economy to improve before putting “another burden on our state’s colleges and universities.”
“I always have said is that when economic times got better, that it would be one of the things that I would consider,” he said.
This is the second time Christie has signalled his support for the legislation that has been introduced in the New Jersey legislature without success for the last ten years, says Gordon MacInnes of the liberal think-tank New Jersey Policy Perspective.
“It follows on a statement that he made […] over the weekend where he has shown his strong support for tuition equity. That is essential for motivating the legislature and the governor to enact tuition equity,” he said.
MacInnes does not expect substaintial costs to New Jersey educational institutions. He says that of 50,000 Rutgers students, only about 150 currently pay out-of-state tuition rates because they don’t have social security numbers, indicating that they are unlawfully present.
Governor Christie has actively tried to court New Jersey’s Latino voters during the governor’s race, including buying Spanish-language ad time early in the campaign season.