Speaking to a Mount Juliet Chamber of Commerce meet and greet on Thursday morning, Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd said that while he does not support the current in-state tuition bill under consideration in the Tennessee General Assembly, immigration status of student should be irrelevant when it comes to filling seats in Tennessee’s state colleges and universities.
Kicked off a full day in Wilson County at the @MJChamber. Look forward to seeing more friends and supporters! Check out our full list of stops via the @wilsonconews https://t.co/1KJt7MgOpx pic.twitter.com/bqZEkDWQpW
— Randy Boyd (@randyboyd) March 15, 2018
“Do you support the legislature’s bill on in-state tuition?” one of the attendees at the meet and greet asked the Knoxville businessman.
“No. I don’t think the state of Tennessee should be supplying or paying in-state benefits to people that are not in-state,” Boyd responded.
The current bill proposed by State Rep. Mark White actually provides in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrant students by redefining what a public benefit is.
“Having said that, though, I think, it’s the kind of nuance that, I want to bring more people from all over the country and all over the world to the state of Tennessee, and our out-of-state tuition is really out of line,” Boyd continued, adding:
Our out-of-state tuition is 300 percent the cost of our in-state tuition. And in-state-tuition is profitable. So it’s basically, if you were a hotel room, and you charged 100 dollars for the room, and you’re down to your last 30 percent of your rooms, and they were empty, if you’re a hotel, what do you do?
You usually discount them to fill because your variable cost is fairly small.
We’re kind of that way with our universities, and with the exception of one or two, like Vanderbilt, which is private, and the University of Tennessee, which is oversubscribed, but most others, we have a capacity issue, we have lots of extra room.
If we charge them the full price, 100 dollars, we make money, so it’s profitable.
So I don’t know that we need to provide subsidized benefits, but if we just charge them the full price, it’s still less money than they have to pay now, and the state of Tennessee makes money.
“Beyond that, in the bigger picture, the state of Tennessee needs more talent. We need to bring more people in to the state of Tennessee, and I want to bring people in from Kentucky and Mississippi, and from wherever in the world they want to come from,” Boyd concluded. (emphasis added)
You can listen to the audio of this conversation here:
Critics say Boyd actually wants White’s bill to pass this session so that he can say, if elected governor, that he is only enforcing the law when he offers in-state tuition to illegal immigrant students.
“It is painfully obvious that Randy Boyd doesn’t understand Higher Education funding in Tennessee,” Diane Black campaign spokesperson Chris Hartline told The Tennessee Star.
“In-state tuition fees bring in slightly over a third of the real costs to Tennessee taxpayers. Out of state tuition isn’t charged to punish anybody but simply to cover actual cost. Surely he understands that? Or maybe he hopes voters don’t get it,” he added.
“Diane Black has a proven record of fighting for taxpayers and against those who can always justify more of our money,” Black spokesperson Hartline concluded.