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Arizona Supreme Court Decrees that Dreamers No Longer Qualify for In-state Tuition

Dreamers in Arizona are met with a conundrum in their pursuit of higher education

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Arizona Supreme Court ruled on Monday that beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), also known as Dreamers, will no longer be eligible for in-state tuition at the state’s colleges and universities. Consequently, the hike in tuition costs could potentially cause many DACA students to stop and drop out of college.

According to AZCentral, the Arizona Board of Regents announced that in-state tuition rates for DACA recipients would end “effective immediately.” As such, in-state tuition fees for the upcoming 2018-19 school year at Arizona State University are approximated at $9,834 while nonresident tuition fees are estimated at $27,618.

A majority of Arizona DACA Dreamers are currently attending community colleges registered under Maricopa County Community College District. For the 2017-18 academic year, Arizona residents attending Maricopa County Community Colleges currently pay $81 per credit hour while out-of-state students pay $241 per credit hour, as reported by AZCentral.

Arizona Board of Regents Chair Bill Ridenour published a press release Monday, with relation to the state’s Supreme Court’s decision, asserting that “without a doubt, the Arizona Supreme Court’s decision today is a setback for DACA students.” Ridenour affirmed the Board of Regents’ commitment to promoting pathways to higher education for all students, stating that state universities will provide currently enrolled DACA students assistance in understanding the outcomes for their increased tuition costs.

Promise Arizona, a faith-based organization that “aims to unite the millions of Arizonans who reject the divisive politics of immigrant-baiting”, shared a live Facebook feed of a news conference held by the organization, in response to the Arizona Supreme Court’s decision, on Tuesday.

In the news conference, Carlos Yanez, a biomedical sciences major at Arizona State University, conveyed his anxiety about the ruling in a news conference, declaring that neither he nor his parents will be able to afford the increase in tuition. Promise Arizona Executive Director Petra Falcon asserted that “this ongoing assault on immigrants is destroying our communities, especially our vulnerable immigrant families, and it has to stop.”

Dreamers pursuing an undergraduate degree at Arizona colleges and universities may be eligible for the Board of Regents’ Non-Resident Tuition Rate for Arizona High School Graduates. Undocumented students who have attended, and graduated from, an Arizona high school for a minimum of three years and are lawfully present in Arizona could be approved for the nonresident rate of 150 percent of resident undergraduate tuition.

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