Wednesday, April 22, 2015

College Tuition for DREAMers Might Drop But Fight for In-State Rate Isn't Over

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2015 at 10:30 AM

The Arizona Board of Regents will soon vote on possibly adding a new policy that would create another non-resident undergraduate tuition rate specifically for students who graduate from an Arizona high school but don't otherwise qualify as residents.

The proposal would directly affect so-called DREAMers, young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. They have been fighting for in-state tuition for years, as they have lived in Arizona for most of their lives. Because of their immigration status—despite getting relief from President Obama's DACA program—the state doesn't grant them that benefit. 

This new non-resident rate would be 150 percent of the resident tuition rate established by ABOR. It would also only apply to undergraduate students. 

DREAMers want a rate that is equal to resident tuition. (If ABOR approves the tuition hike proposal by the UA, new undergrads will pay $11,403 a year, while non-residents, among them DREAMers, will pay $33,630 per year.)

To qualify, the student would have had to attend high school in the state for three or more years. Those three years of attendance don't have to be consecutive. 

"Completion of the 9th grade while physically present in Arizona, whether at an Arizona middle school or high school or equivalent, will count toward the Arizona high school attendance requirement," an ABOR agenda said. 

DREAMers want to expand the policy to include students with a GED or a community college degree. 

Great news for DREAMers, if the new rate goes into effect, it'll save them thousands of dollars, but it still is not equal. 

If they have proof they have lived in the state for a few years, what is the rationale behind not giving them in-state tuition? Political agendas need to stay out of education. Unfortunately, in Arizona—where the belief in the state Capitol is that money is better spent in private prisons and more tax breaks for corporations—that's an unreachable dream. 

ABOR is making all tuition decisions on May 4.

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