In exchange for boosting graduation rates and closing achievement gaps, state education officials are calling on lawmakers to grow investments in public higher education and significantly expand financial aid programs. Those arguments have resonated with some government watchdogs, such as Michael Widmer of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation estimates under 1,000 students annually would be affected by the legislation. They also say the state would gain rather than lose money because the bill would encourage students to attend school who would otherwise be unable to afford it.
A 2011 Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation report estimated that 40 percent of Massachusetts' 910 undocumented high school seniors, an annual 315 to 365 students, would attend college if allowed to pay in-state rates. This would add $1.8 million to $2.1 million in tuition revenue the first year. Over four years, it would add $6.4 million to $7.4 million.