Arizona rules colleges can't offer in-state tuition to DACA recipients

DACA UA Protest 2

A new ruling from the Arizona Supreme Court mandated that those who benefit from the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals program are no longer eligible for in-state tuition, AZ Central reports.

As a result of the court's ruling, which will impact upwards of 2,000 DACA recipients who attend community colleges or state universities and currently pay in-state rates, so-called "Dreamers" could now have to pay double - or even triple - what they are currently spending for college. According to the Arizona Republic, the state Supreme Court on Monday "issued a brief decision order saying justices unanimously agreed with the Arizona Court of Appeals' ruling that said existing federal and state laws don't allow the Maricopa Community Colleges to grant in-state tuition rates for DACA recipients". She's on a full scholarship, so this decision won't affect her directly for now, but she knows how much it will change things for her friends and the thousands of other DACA students who attend Arizona colleges and universities and pay in-state tuition.

An explanation of the Arizona Supreme Court's ruling will be issued by May 14. Previously, over 2,000 Dreamers were paying in-state rates at Arizona's state and community colleges.

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.

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Van Hollen also expressed worry that Republicans will use this news to cut into entitlement programs like Social Security. Real growth in gross domestic product, which past year was projected to be 2 percent in 2018, will now reach 3.3 percent.

"It's going to be harder to continue with this journey", she said.

DACA recipients in Arizona will now face a tougher time being able to finance their college education.

A 2017 analysis by NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, which also tracks tuition rates for DACA students, concluded 21 states have adopted in-state tuition policies.

"While people can disagree what the law should be, I hope we all can agree that the attorney general must enforce the law as it is, not as we want it to be", Brnovich said in a statement.

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It is that ruling the Supreme Court upheld on Monday. In 2006, voters approved Proposition 300, a ballot measure that denied in-state tuition to students who were not citizens or permanent residents, or to anyone "without lawful immigration status".

Karina Ruiz, executive director of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, said in a news conference the decision "again shows that the politicians are going to continue their attacks on our community", preventing students "from going to college, from contributing to society, from bettering themselves".

And despite the best efforts of immigrant-rights activists, Congress has yet to hold a vote on a Dream Act that would allow a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the U.S. In an Easter tweet, Trump declared that "DACA is dead". In that sense, defenders of the in-state tuition policy argue that DACA was meant to provide lawful status to young undocumented immigrants.

"This clarification does nothing to alter our steadfast commitment to making higher education a reality for all Arizona high school graduates, including those who have DACA status", Crow, the ASU president, said in a statement. Egurrola, who is 24, said that after a moment of disbelief, she urged her friends that this fight had been a long one, and they would find a solution.

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President Donald Trump has tweeted about DACA frequently after announcing a year ago he would end the program.

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