Arizona Supreme Court Rules Non-Resident Tuition for DACA Recipients

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that colleges in Arizona are unable to give in-state tuition to DACA recipients.

DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, allows for children who were brought to the United States undocumented to have certain rights and liberties, so that they are not punished for a choice that was not theirs to make.

The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that, both, federal and state law, does not allow in-state tuition rates for DACA recipients, even at the community college level.  The Arizona Supreme Court upheld that ruling in a unanimous decision.

The full opinion is not set to be released for another month.

This decision is devastating news for DACA recipients in Arizona.  According to the AZCentral article, “More than 2,000 DACA recipients, commonly referred to as ‘dreamers,’ currently attend community college or a state university in Arizona and pay in-state rates.”  To change this would require DACA recipients to be able to afford a significant tuition increase or to no longer attend their colleges and universities.

A resident of Arizona would pay in-state tution of $9,834 for the school year at Arizona State University.  Non-residents pay $27,618.  A DACA recipient living in Arizona will have to pay approximately twenty thousand dollars more because of this court decision.

The only saving grace that may help DACA recipients not have to pay the full non-resident amount is due to the Arizona Board of Regents’ decision in 2015 that decided there would be a lower tuition rate for non-residents who are Arizona high school graduates.  Considering that in-state DACA recipients will be considered non-residents, but most likely attended Arizona high schools, most Arizona DACA recipients will meet this criteria.

But, even that ruling is going to put an extremely significant strain on DACA recipients financially, considering the rate is 150 percent of in-state tuition.

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