This archived article was written by: Devin Bybee
State Bill 81 was passed in Utah’s Legislature in 2008. It is a bill designed primarily to prohibit government subsidies to aid undocumented people. While the objective behind this bill is obvious, the consequences have been debatable.
For example, at the College of Eastern Utah there has been a generous contribution in the amount of $180,000 toward international student’s scholarships that could be at risk. According to the Salt Lake Tribune quoting Brad King, it is “the largest single gift to the Price campus during the last three years,” and “the gift was about 10 percent of the campus’s $2 million in endowments.”
In order to fulfill the contributor’s desire, the money would have to go through a third party rather than being donated to the school. There are similar situations at the University of Utah where similar contributions go through the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. This allows private donations to reach their intended beneficiaries.
Also, the college will have to make changes that will cost them money to ensure that this law is carried out in public education. In the Utah System of Higher Education’s document, which implements SB 81, there are four points of interest:
1. The creation of identity documents (student ID cards)
2. The verification of lawful status for students who work for higher education institutions.
3. The application for local or state “public benefits” (Institutional scholarships, tuition waivers, grants, or loans).
4. The production and submission of an annual report.
In association with the identity documents, you might have noticed a change in this year’s ID cards. It now has the words “For Campus Identification & Affiliation Purposes Only” on them. This makes this ID only eligible for CEU and cannot be used as a form of state ID.
Only those who are lawfully in this country can work for the school. There are many jobs that the school offers such as the cafeteria, library and bookstore. Any form of financial aid is also limited to those who are lawfully in the country.
To properly enforce this law, schools are required to run each scholarship recipient through a verification process that costs 50 cents per person. This can be costly with the many applications that are received each year. The schools are also required to make an annual report to the Board of Regents and the Legislature documenting the numbers of applications.
Whether or not SB 81 is practical is up to your political standpoints, but for now changes have been made to ensure that the bill is being implemented and to make sure that CEU is in compliance with state law.
Vice President of Institutional Advancement King said, “While CEU will always do what is necessary to be in compliance with state law, this has been a difficult adjustment. Currently there are only 3 students that fall into this category of students attending CEU. To fulfill the requirements of this new law all students and many office on campus are significantly affected.”