, Salem, MA

December 1, 2012

Letter: An unfair deal on in-state tuition

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

I read with interest your opinion piece on the recent news of in- state tuition rates at our state schools for illegal aliens. I have a personal issue with this and it is not one of agreement.

I am in a position in which my daughter is a student at Salem State University. She is a resident of Massachusetts - my home in Ipswich being her legal residence. Her father and I divorced many years ago and her father eventually settled in Salem, N.H. The divorce agreement gives her father the right to claim her as a dependent on his taxes, something I agreed to and had no problem with, until she got accepted at Salem State and we discovered too late what this arrangement would cost.

Even though her father works in Massachusetts and pays Massachusetts state taxes, my daughter works in Massachusetts and pays Massachusetts taxes and her LEGAL residence is Massachusetts, and I work in and own a small business in Massachusetts, she is NOT eligible for in-state tuition rates simply because her father claims her on his taxes and he resides in N.H.

Now we are giving in-state tuition rates to ILLEGAL aliens. Please explain how this is right, that they are eligible and my daughter is not? I have brought this issue to the attention of Brad Hill, who was not aware of this policy and has since told me he is having difficulty getting support for changing this policy because the state does not want to give up the money, but we will give it up for people who are here illegally. Please explain how this is right and fair because I cannot make sense of this. My daughter is being punished because her parents divorced and her father moved one state over. It was not her choice and she is a LEGAL resident of Massachusetts with both parents paying into the state system to pay for illegal students to attend the same school that my daughter is attending.

Can my daughter be considered an illegal alien from N.H. and be eligible? Perhaps this would be the way to go.

Christine Sortwell