Arizona Dreamers No Longer Granted in-State Tuition


Arizona's Supreme Court ruled Monday that state colleges can't offer lower in-state tuition rates to students covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The ruling could affect upward of 2,000 DACA recipients who now attend community colleges or state universities in Arizona and pay in-state rates, the Republic reported.

"This ruling is troubling for the 2,000 DACA students now enrolled in Maricopa Community Colleges", he said in a statement. The Associated Press estimated community college students who currently pay $2,580 a year will now pay $8,900. Those who do not meet the requirement could pay up to $27,618, according to AZ Central.

President of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition Karina Ruiz told the Arizona Republic a lack of access to federal or state financial aid made it hard for DACA recipients to pay in-state rates and the ruling will make pursuing higher education "almost impossible" for them.

Genesis Egurrola, the vice president of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, got the news about the Supreme Court in her inbox shortly after leaving class on Monday.

"It is a disheartening decision and this all could have been prevented if we had a permanent solution - and obviously if Trump hadn't taken away DACA, we would still be able to have a way to work legally and to continue to have a way to support our families and our communities", Martinez said.

Instituted by the Obama administration, it allows those who arrived in this country illegally as children to remain if they meet certain other conditions. Despite strong public support, it has stalled in Congress for almost two decades.

"With these price increases it makes higher education completely unaffordable for young immigrants who want to go to school". Although the news is "very stressful" for her, she said she is more concerned about all those students who haven't even had a chance to start college. It took 12 years for Ruiz to complete her undergraduate degree in biochemistry.

The chair of the state Board of Regents also lamented the decision, which came in a case pursued by the attorney general after the community college district began allowing DACA students to pay in-state tuition several years ago.

The community college district has been leading the fight for undocumented college students to receive in-state tuition for about three years.

Second, the Arizona Supreme Court ruling affirms that DACA recipients are illegal aliens. But Regents Chairman Bill Ridenour, who is an attorney, said he believes that DACA recipients are, in fact, lawfully present.

He set a deadline of March 5 for Congress to pass legislation providing continued protections for DACA recipients. Without those rates extended to DACA students, she expects to pay the out-of-state rate of $2,940 for a semester. Homeland Security has since resumed processing renewal applications; however, new DACA applications are not permitted.

"Not only does this put education out of reach for most students, many will simply drop out from this disappointing decision", said Edder Diaz Martinez, a DACA recipient himself and a founding member of Undocumented Students for Education Equity, a group representing immigrant students at Arizona State University. In a 104-37 vote, the state House upheld a state budget provision requiring students with "unlawful immigration status" to be charged at the same rates as worldwide students, reported the Kansas City Star. He is undocumented, and he thought that he would have to wait two or three years until he had saved enough money - undocumented students are ineligible for federal financial aid.

Other states prohibiting in-state tuition for DREAMers are Georgia and in, while Alabama and SC have gone a step further by completely banning them from enrolling at any public postsecondary institution, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported.

The Show also turned to a DACA student for her reaction.