Maura Healey’s Proposed State Budget Would Offer Free College For Illegal Immigrants In Massachusetts

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Free college for illegal immigrants?

Governor Maura Healey put it in her proposed fiscal year 2024 budget for the Massachusetts state government.

The budget includes Healey’s MassReonnect proposal. If passed into law, it would fund community college certificates and degrees for Massachusetts residents who are 25 years old or older and have not yet earned a college degree. It will also cover student fees, textbooks, and student supplies. About 45.8 percent of Bay Staters ages 25 and up have less than an associate’s degree and would therefore be eligible for the program, according to Statista.

“For recurring expenses for MassReconnect, a scholarship program to provide financial assistance to students from the Commonwealth who:  (a) are enrolled in and pursuing a program of higher education at a public community college; (b) are age 25 or older as of the first day of classes; (c) have not previously earned a college degree; and (d) are enrolled in at least 6 credits; provided, that the funds shall be used to cover any remaining tuition and fees, books and supplies due for any eligible student after all other sources of federal and state grant aid have been exhausted,” a line item in Healey’s proposed budget says

There is no requirement that a person must be a legal resident of Massachusetts to access the program.

The budget appropriates $20 million for the program in fiscal year 2024, which runs from July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024. 

Healey first introduced the MassReconnect proposal in October 2022, a few weeks before the governor’s race general election.

A write-up about it from around that time refers to the current governor and the lieutenant governor, Kim Driscoll, as “Maura and Kim.”

“As Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Maura and Kim want to harness the full potential of our community colleges to bolster their role as an economic driver in Massachusetts and meet the needs of businesses to find qualified, well-trained workers,” Healey’s web site says. “They also want to assist in breaking cycles of intergenerational poverty by helping residents complete higher education credentials so they can attain good jobs and build a career path.”

This is not the first time Healey has supported a college subsidy for illegal immigrants.

In 2019, Healey endorsed a proposal that would have allowed illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition rates in Massachusetts.

“I write to express support for expanding access to our public colleges and universities by making all Massachusetts high school graduates who attended our high schools for at least three years eligible for in-state tuition rates, fees, and state-funded financial aid,” Healey wrote in a letter to the Joint Committee on Higher Education of the Massachusetts Legislature on July 30, 2019. “Meaningful and equitable access to higher education is critically important to success for all of our students, including many immigrant students who have lived in our communities and attended our schools since childhood.”

An estimated 209,000 illegal immigrants live in Massachusetts, according to the Migration Policy Institute; about 162,000 of them are at least 25 years old. It is unclear how many of them already have college degrees. However, some illegal immigrants have degrees, according to the Center for Migration Studies of New York. About half of illegal immigrants are in the country because they overstayed a visa, according to Politifact; some of the illegal immigrants who are in the country because of visa overstays have college degrees, according to The Pie News.

A press spokesman for Governor Healey’s office could not be reached for comment on Tuesday or Wednesday this week.


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