Right-wing media are stirring up outrage over a UCLA online learning program that will offer students, regardless of legal status, the chance to study immigrant and labor rights. The one-year program, which is open to any student who has graduated from a U.S. high school, will cost the same for all students. But Fox News claimed the program would be a "much better deal" if "you are an illegal alien" than a legal resident or American citizen.
UCLA recently launched the National Dream University as a joint effort with the National Labor College. The program is a one-year, accredited program which does not offer a degree, and is comparable to 18 academic credits that are "transferrable to other institutions of higher education." The program offers six courses to be completed in trimesters over the course of 2013 on topics related to labor and immigration policy.
On Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade said that if you are "illegal and qualify for this program, it will cost you $2,400. If you made the foolish mistake of becoming a resident and belong here, then you'll get punished and be paying $6,642." Fox & Friends aired the following on-screen graphic:
But Fox's numbers are wrong. The cost of the program, which is "open to everyone regardless of their immigration status," is the same. An extensive search of the UCLA website Fox cited as a source provided no tuition figures that match the "Legal Student" costs projected during the Fox & Friends segment. Further, in an email to Media Matters, Kent Wong, director of the UCLA Labor Center, confirmed that tuition for the program does not change based on the student's status:
National Dream University is being launched as a new partnership between the UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education and the National Labor College. We will be offering on line educational access and college credit for immigrants, including Dream Act eligible students. There are no differential fees based on the immigration status of the students.
The National Dream University is an online program that only focuses on two subjects, and offers only a "One-Year Certificate," not a college degree:
What degree(s) does National Dream University grant?
National Dream University grants a One-Year Certificate (of 18 credits) by the UCLA Labor Center and National Labor College upon successful completion of the courses taken during the spring, summer, and fall semesters in 2013. Credits received for these semesters are transferrable to other institutions of higher education.
Note: Not all accredited institutions of higher education will take these credits. We recommend that you check the requirements of the specific institution you want to transfer these credits to.
Do I have to be undocumented to apply to National Dream University?
No. National Dream University is designed to provide an educational opportunity to those who have demonstrated leadership and commitment to the immigrant and/or labor rights movements. The application for admission to National Dream University is open to everyone regardless of their immigration status.
What is the cost for attending National Dream University?
Because National Dream University is a partnership between the UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education and National Labor College, there will be five courses taught by the UCLA Labor Center and one course taught by NLC.
The cost of the courses taught by the UCLA Labor Center will be $65 per credit plus a $40 fee for technical support per credit. Each course is three credits and will cost $315.
5 courses x $315 = $1,575
The cost of the course taught by National Labor College will be $270 per credit plus a $35 fee for technical support per credit. The cost of the course taught by the NLC is $915.
The total cost for one year at National Dream University is $2,490.