Statesman: Lawmakers, Freedom Foundation target scholarships for ‘Dreamers’

Republican lawmakers could take a run at banning Idaho’s so-called “Dreamers” from applying for state-funded college scholarships, the Idaho Statesman reported Wednesday.

The Statesman’s Nicole Foy cited emails between legislators and the Idaho Freedom Foundation, a conservative public policy group. And the emails began shortly after interim Boise State University president Martin Schimpf advocated awarding Idaho Opportunity Scholarships to students in Idaho under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields some 3,000 undocumented Idahoans from deportation.

“BSU is going in an increasingly radical direction,” foundation vice president Fred Birnbaum wrote in a June 6 email to members of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee and the House and Senate education committees.

In the ensuing weeks, the debate over Boise State diversity and inclusion programs has pitted Republican and Democratic lawmakers against each other, and has dominated headlines during Marlene Tromp’s first month as Boise State president.

Last week, House Majority Leader Mike Moyle hinted at legislation addressing the issue, but offered no details.

The Opportunity Scholarship provides up to $3,500 a year for eligible Idaho college students. Despite increased funding — a record $20.5 million this year — the scholarship has not kept up with the number of qualified applicants.

Boise State believes Dreamers are eligible for the scholarship.

“Since they have applied for and received deferred action on any immigration decisions, they are in the state legally, and that is the requirement in state law,” spokesman Greg Hahn wrote in an email to Foy.




Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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