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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.
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
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