Starting in August, the Metropolitan State College of Denver will authorize lower tuitions for certain undocumented students.

The initiative creates an intermediate university tuition level above what legal residents in the state must pay but substantially below what students coming from other states or from abroad pay.

According to MSCD president Stephen Jordan, the measure would benefit some of the 300 incoming undocumented students and 120 other students who are already enrolled, but who up to now have had to pay as if they were not Colorado residents.

In concrete numbers, undocumented people who are studying at this time at MSCD would pay almost $7,200 per year, compared with the $4,300 that legal residents pay and the almost $16,000 that students from outside Colorado pay.

In remarks to the media, Jordan said that the proposal began to be acted upon in October 2011, when efforts were begun in the Colorado legislature in favor of bill SB12-15, which sought to create an intermediate university tuition level to benefit certain undocumented students.

That measure proposed that reduced tuitions be authorized for undocumented students who could demonstrate that they had studied in Colorado schools for three years, that they had already graduated from a school in the state or that they had received a GED, and who qualified to regularize their immigration situation.

SB12-15 was approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate, but later it was rejected by the Republican majority in the state House of Representatives.

That rejection, Jordan said, motivated MSCD authorities to explore the possibility of implementing the reduced tuitions on their own.

Jordan emphasized that the initiative seeks "to create a type of positive environment and acceptance of the Hispanic community."

Currently, 18 percent of the 24,000 students at MSCD are of Hispanic origin.

The measure could meet opposition in the Colorado Higher Education Commission, which regulates the universities, and probably will face opposition among Republican lawmakers, who have already announced that, if MSCD implements the reduced tuitions, they will seek to overturn the measure by means of a new law in 2013. EFE