Board chair defends in-state tuition for undocumented students

Feb 14, 2013

" if I didn't believe I had the authority to do it, I wouldn't have done it. "

The Senate Education Committee yesterday approved the last seven nominees for a new state board overseeing K through 12 and higher education.

URI campus
Credit courtesy URI

One of those nominees, Eva Marie Mancuso, has been selected to lead the new board of education. Mancuso previously led a committee that paved the way for undocumented immigrants to attend state colleges at the in-state tuition rate.
She says the state Board of Governors for Higher Education acted legally when it approved that policy. “Obviously, if I interpreted it incorrectly, then there would have been a Superior Court action moving forward on that, and that didn’t happen.”

Mancuso says she continues to support the policy."I acted with a clean heart, not with malice. I didn’t act because I thought the legislature wasn’t moving quick enough. I think that’s important for you to understand. Whether you accept that or not, I tell you that. I stand here and tell you that if I didn’t believe I had the authority to do it, I wouldn’t have done it.   

The full Senate confirmed the first four nominees for the new state education board earlier this week. Mancuso and six other nominees still face confirmation by the full Senate. They’ll serve on a combined state board replacing two separate panel overseeing k through 12 and higher education.

Mancuso calls the new board a work in progress and notes that detailed plans for the panel aren’t due until in September.

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