GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Randy Boyd Still Retains Appointment to Obama-Created Board Helping Illegal Immigrants Get Free College Education

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GOP gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd says he opposes giving illegal immigrants access to the in-state four-year college tuition rate, but is still listed as serving on Obama’s College Promise Campaign board which is working to make state community college scholarships like the Tennessee Promise, available to illegal immigrant students.

Almost one year to the date after Obama talked amnesty for illegal immigrants in a Nashville speech, he returned to Tennessee, floated the idea of a national free community college program and shortly thereafter, announced appointments to his newly created College Promise Advisory Board.

Randy Boyd who was the ECD Commissioner at the time, was appointed to the board Obama launched in 2015.

Obama’s College Promise board is led by the president of the leftist Joyce Foundation and honorary chair Dr. Jill Biden, wife of former Vice-President Joe Biden. It’s website does not hide the College Promise campaign’s intention to include illegal immigrants in the group of students who can access the free education dollars:

Who will your Promise program serve? Promise programs use specific eligibility and persistence criteria to determine which students the program will serve and benchmarks for continuation in the program. Some common criteria include: … Citizenship: These programs take into account a student’s citizenship status. Some programs are explicitly limited to U.S. citizens, while others include residents of the locality or state, including undocumented students.

A briefing book provided by the College Promise board, Making Public Colleges Tuition Freereinforces the inclusion of illegal immigrants in state college promise programs like Tennessee Promise, referencing the “alternative application for undocumented students” used by two states for their tuition scholarship programs.

The 2014 statute establishing the Tennessee Promise scholarship already includes flexibility in qualifying for the money based on “extenuating circumstances” and should this year’s in-state tuition bill be passed, could easily result in including the alternative application for illegal immigrants that the College Promise board is promoting.

Obama said he was “inspired” by The Tennessee Promise scholarship program, an initiative Randy Boyd takes full credit for on his campaign website and which provided the foundation of Haslam’s “Drive to 55” higher education umbrella.

The programs that make up the “Drive to 55” initiative are intended to “increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or credential to 55 percent by the year 2025.” Last year, the lobbyist for the University of Tennessee told the Education Subcommittee that as a result of the Tennessee Promise program, UT Martin experienced a decline in freshman enrollment. Legislators desperate to fill the empty seats, used the “Drive to 55” education agenda to justify passing legislation giving the lower in-state tuition rate to illegal immigrant students.

Sen. Gardenhire who has sponsored all of the Senate in-state tuition bills, claims that the goal of “Drive to 55” cannot be reached without enabling the “estimated 13,000 undocumented” students in Tennessee to have the benefit of in-state tuition rates.

After Gardenhire’s 2015 in-state tuition bill failed to pass in the House, it seems Boyd, who was then the ECD Commissioner was working behind the scenes to help bring the bill back during the 2017 legislative session.

A 2016 email exchange provided to The Tennessee Star between Boyd and several of his staff at ECD suggests that Boyd was trying to construct a positive fiscal impact argument to support awarding the state benefit of in-state tuition to students he called “undocumented,” a politically deceptive description typically employed by open border and illegal immigrant advocates.

During discussion of the 2015 in-state tuition bill on the House floor, Rep. John Ragan referenced the bill’s fiscal note that only 28 students would potentially benefit from the bill.

Per Boyd’s request for data to revive the bill, ECD’s Director of the Center for Economic Research in Tennessee (CERT) indicated that she would probe the Tennessee college systems estimate that only 28 “undocumented” students per year would take advantage of an in-state tuition rate if the bill was passed. She also suggested applying additional research and assumptions that could drive the estimated numbers higher.

The email exchange between Randy Boyd, Sally Haar, Director of CERT, Sammie Arnold ECD’s chief legislative lobbyist and Ted Townsend ECD’s chief operating officer, which The Star has obtained and believes to be authentic, can be read below:


State Senators Richard Briggs and Becky Duncan-Massey and Reps. Kent Calfee and Eddie Smith are working to get Boyd elected as governor; they all voted  for the 2015 in-state tuition bill that passed the Senate but failed in the House by a single vote. Boyd and members of his family have donated to these legislators campaign accounts.

Boyd remains a named member of an organization that pushes state and local policymakers to support giving in-state tuition to illegal immigrant students and he has used his philanthropy to help expand an entrepreneurship program whose services are available to illegal aliens.

Two of Boyd’s rivals for the Republican nomination for governor–Williamson County businessman Bill Lee and Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-06)— said on Wednesday they were opposed to and would veto the current in-state tuition for illegal immigrants bill sponsored by State Rep. Mark White (R-Memphis) that passed the Tennessee House of Representatives Education Subcommittee on a voice vote without discussion on Tuesday.

Boyd has offered no statement on that bill.


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13 Thoughts to “GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Randy Boyd Still Retains Appointment to Obama-Created Board Helping Illegal Immigrants Get Free College Education”

  1. […] Tennessee Star first reported in March about Boyd’s membership on the College Promise Advisory Board whose launch was […]

  2. Scott

    The College Promise board is led by the president of the leftist Joyce Foundation. Valerie Jarrett, a senior Obama advisor, used to head the Joyce Foundation, and Barack Obama sat on the board from 1994 to 2002, which should be enough to convince anyone that this group is a mighty and radical left-wing machine.
    Though the organization started as a proponent of free enterprise founded by the Republican David Joyce, today the foundation checks about every liberal box. As Foundation Watch noted in February 2014, it is anti-gun, pro-union, anti-free markets, anti-First Amendment (it supports heavy regulation of political speech), anti-voter ID laws, pro-radical environmentalism, and otherwise the tool of big government liberals devoted to making the Great Lakes region even more progressive than it already is.

  3. lb

    This guy is such a PHONY and he thinks we are stupid. Contrast his ads–all mush about his wife, adoption, blah blah vs Diane Black who has strong, focused, agenda/policy details. Just another reason she stands out to me and I will be voting for her. This guy must really think we are all stupid–a lot of politicians do it seems

    1. John Bumpus

      In my opinion, Randy Boyd is another mulit-millionaire East Tennessee Republican RINO (probably really just a Dem who now says that he is a Republican) who wants to buy his way into the Tennessee Governor’s Office if Tennessee Republicans are ‘DUMB ENOUGH’ to buy his schtick come GOP primary time!

      And furthermore, Diane Black is still another mulit-millionaire Tennessee Republican RINO who is just as bad as Boyd! And by the way, Black is a native of Maryland who grew-up in Maryland, and attended and graduated from a Community College in Maryland before she came to Tennessee–this should tell you something!

      Tennessee Republicans would be well advised to avoid both Boyd and Black.

      I am so sorry that Mae Beavers was driven from the race by the foregoing two BIG MONEY candidates! She was a TRUE CONSERVATIVE AND THE REAL DEAL.

      As for Lee and Harwell, we’ll see! We still have time to properly assess each one of these two, but in my opinion the jury is now partly in on Harwell–although she seems like a nice person, her performance in the Tennessee House of Representatives betrays her!

    2. This idiot is as stupid as a fence post what a dum ass what about American kids who can’t afford college this is what kind of nut heads we have in Washington

  4. Wolf Woman

    But, but . . . I just heard a radio ad last night that said Randy Boyd was a real conservative and was against illegal immigration, etc. What a blatant hypocrite and a back stabber of the hardworking Tennessee tax payers this clown turns out to be.

    And as a La Raza (the race) supporter, Randy shows himself to be a Constitutional rapist who wants Tennessee colleges to help fill their diversity quotas and empty seats with the illegal children of lawbreakers, young people who feel entitled to benefits just because Obama used his phone and pen. Has he ever seen them throwing fits in public protests when they think their entitlements are in danger?

    Wonder if La Raza Randy ever thought about the possibility that the educated illegals in Tennessee might leave the state since legally they can’t hold jobs here? Probably not. Guess the number of 28 “undocumented” students in the state is a “low” enough number for him to not even think about it. So what is he thinking when he sides with illegals? Inquiring real conservative minds want to know.

  5. Baskerville

    Our rights do not come from any goverment. Our rights, including the right to life and the right to keep and bear arms, come diectly from GOD.

  6. Stuart I. Anderson

    Randy! Boyd is the only self-admitted “moderate” running for governor which makes him, by far, the least desirable candidate as far as conservatives are concerned. While we have no movement conservative running for governor, Black and Harwell have at least tepid conservative records and Bill Lee alleges he is a conservative. With Randy! conservatives can look forward to what will probably be eight years of dragging him to do this, blocking him from doing that. Please fellow conservatives, ANYBODY BUT BOYD!!!

  7. Papa

    A true RINO. Hussein O would not have appointed a real conservative. We don’t need another progressive in office!

    1. John Bumpus

      Papa, I think that this is an excellent point! You can say what you will about Obama, but one thing about him was indisputable–when it came to politics, Obama was NO dummy. Obama would NOT have appointed Boyd if Boyd was a real Conservative. At BEST, Boyd is a Progressive/Liberal Republican. At WORST, well, you complete the sentence _____________________ .

  8. Bruce

    A no vote for sure. Disappointing.

  9. 83ragtop50

    Will we Tennesseans ever be freed from all of this Drive for 55 garbage? Sure makes a great sounding motto but what substance does it have? Programs that give away “free” post secondary education are expensive to fund and provide an excuse for those not interested enough to pay for their own education to just slough off for another 2 years. What a crock! Giving ILLEGALS in state tuition only exacerbates the problem. How about giving citizens a tax break if there is so much excess cash lying around that they want to give MORE of it to lawbreakers?

    1. James Born

      Essentially then, Randy Boyd has turned in-state tuition into a jobs bill
      to keep higher education employment up and to pander to Chamber of Commerce.