The Truth-O-Meter Says:

Supported in-state tuition in Arkansas for illegal immigrants "if you'd sat in our schools from the time you're 5 or 6 years old and you had become an A-plus student," among other things.

Mike Huckabee on Wednesday, November 28th, 2007 in a debate in St. Petersburg

Tuition bill wasn't that strict

During a Republican presidential debate Nov. 28, 2007, a questioner asked Mike Huckabee about his support for a 2005 measure in Arkansas that would have granted in-state tuition to the children of illegal immigrants. Though the bill never made it out of the legislature, critics still question his support of it.

Huckabee described the law's requirements as stringent, applying only to students "if you'd sat in our schools from the time you're 5 or 6 years old and you had become an A-plus student, you'd completed the core curriculum, you were an exceptional student, and you also had to be drug- and alcohol-free — and the other provision, you had to be applying for citizenship."

That's quite a number of restrictions. Did the bill outline all that?

No. The bill, proposed by Rep. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock, said that students had to have spent three years in Arkansas high schools and graduated, and they had to sign an affidavit saying they intended to pursue citizenship. Then they would be eligible for in-state tuition and a popular state scholarship program, the Academic Challenge Scholarship, just like their fellow classmates.

Huckabee conflates the proposed law with rules for the scholarship, which does have requirements for a core curriculum and drug-testing. Maybe Huckabee was confused on which programs he was talking about; he had mentioned the Academic Challenge Scholarship by name a few moments earlier.

But even granting a mix-up, Huckabee is plain wrong about the A-plus average — the scholarship requires a 3.0 out of 4.0. And there's no requirement for attending state schools since age 5 or 6.

We award Huckabee a Barely True.

Editor's note: This statement was rated Barely True when it was published. On July 27, 2011, we changed the name for the rating to Mostly False.
About this statement:

Published: Thursday, November 29th, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

Subjects: Immigration


Arkansas Legislature, HB1525, 2005

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock), "House Panel Endorses College Scholarship Bill," Feb. 23, 2005

Academic Challenge Scholarship Program, Rules and Regulations

Interview with Joe Carter of the Mike Huckabee campaign

Written by: Angie Drobnic Holan
Researched by: Angie Drobnic Holan
Edited by: Amy Hollyfield

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