U of I rejects sanctuary-campus calls; City Colleges of Chicago on board
On Tuesday, the University of Illinois System rejected calls from students and activists to declare its three locations “sanctuary campuses," but only five days prior, the City Colleges of Chicago Board of Trustees adopted a formal resolution declaring itself a “welcoming campus” for students and employees who are in the country illegally.
The resolution does not make clear how serving both citizen and non-citizen students impacts the cash-strapped taxpayer-supported college system’s budget.
The resolution, dated Dec. 1, makes it “a violation of City Colleges' policies and procedures to unlawfully discriminate or harass at City Colleges on the basis of immigration status with respect to hire, terms and conditions of employment, continued employment, admissions, or participation in programs, services or activities.”
As a result of this policy and the City of Chicago’s Welcoming City Ordinance passed in 2012, it is unknown how many of the more than 50,000 students at the City Colleges’ seven campuses are not legally in the United States. The board said that the system “does not inquire about applicants’ or students’ citizenship or immigration status when they seek to enroll at City Colleges or apply for scholarship programs.”
According to its Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Operating Budget, City Colleges of Chicago has a budget of $523.7 million, of which more than $185 million is realized from state and local tax revenue, including local property taxes, which have increased dramatically in recent years. The 2016 property tax levy for the city college system is projected to exceed $62 million.
The board has not said how much of this local and state tax revenue funds the education of non-citizens, but the board said, “CCC programming, classes and scholarships have long been open and eligible to all students, regardless of immigration status. This includes the Chicago Star Scholarship program. Other City Colleges programs, including adult education, GED and dual credit/dual enrollment provide tuition-free enrollment, regardless of immigration status.”