Jay Wilson Explains Economic Case for Maryland Dream Act

Posted Date: 
September 13, 2012


Jay Wilson (left) and Francisco Cartagena (center) address the economic development committee.

Co-Chair Stew Edelstein introduced Jay Wilson and Francisco Cartagena from Justice for Students in America and the Montgomery County Young Democrats to speak about the economic case for the Maryland Dream Act.

Francisco Cartagena began the conversation by describing himself as a "Maryland Dreamer", or an undocumented immigrant looking to pursue an education in the State. He told his story about struggling to find a way to attend and pay for a higher education after going to Montgomery County Public Schools. Cartagena worked to start Students for Justice in America (JSA) to advocate for the Maryland Dream Act.

Jay Wilson spoke about the economic case for the Maryland Dream Act. He spoke about increased tuition, sales tax, income tax revenue, and property tax revenue in the long term. He spoke about these revenues collected from higher wages earned by a new population of college graduates. According to the state funding formula, a new student under the Maryland Dream Act at Montgomery college would produce a net benefit of $2,172 per student, Wilson described.

Wilson discussed how, without the Maryland Dream Act, undocumented immigrants, who pay taxes, would be forced to pay out of state tuition, which adds an additional $18,000 per semester in tuition costs. Furthermore, Wilson illustrated how the State loses $118,000 to $145,000 in forgone State revenue per student. This includes such factors as the difference in employment between those with a degree and those without.

The committee asked about the details of the law, such as how Dream Act students do not take spots from other in-state students, how eligible "Dreamers" must pay taxes, go to County Public Schools, and reside in Maryland, and get their AA degree then apply selectively to gain admissions to a Maryland public university. Committee members explained how there is a demand for transfer students at Maryland's public universities.

Click HERE to download the MD DREAM ACT Economic Benefits pdf file


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