November 14th, 2017
Which States Offer Tuition Benefits for Immigrants
As of July 21, 2017, twenty-one states offer in-state tuition to certain undocumented immigrant students through legislative action at the state level or through the universities themselves. Most require that students attend and graduate from state high schools, be accepted to a state university, and promise to apply for legal student when eligible. Some of these states also allow undocumented student to apply for financial aid. There has, however, been considerable pushback in certain states from lawmakers who seek to revoke the in-state tuition policies, including Texas and Connecticut. In fact, in 2011, Wisconsin revoked its in-state tuition policy for undocumented immigrants in 2011.
On the other side of the coin, six states have enacted legislation that explicitly barred undocumented students from in-state tuition benefits (as of 2015). Arizona is one of those states. In 2006, voters enacted Proposition 300 which prohibits public benefits for anyone living in Arizona without legal status. In 2015, though, a trial court judge ruled that undocumented students who were granted deferred action (DACA recipients) were considered “legally present” and therefore qualified for state benefits. On June 20, 2017, however, the Arizona Court of Appeals overturned the trial judge’s decision and found that DACA recipients are not automatically eligible for the benefit of in-state tuition. Proposition 300 therefore continues to bar them from qualifying for in-state tuition.
You can find a color-coded map of the states that do and do not offer tuition benefits for undocumented immigrants here (as of 2015), along with a list of enacted bills related to immigrant tuition benefits.
Read about debate over undocumented student tuition here.