Undocumented students will now receive in-state tuition in Arizona
The decision has a significant impact in the state considering its history against immigration.
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Arizona voters passed this week Proposition 308, allowing undocumented students access to in-state tuition rates and state-funded financial aid. Although it only passed by less than 60,000 votes, the new rule marks an important shift for the state.
In 2006, Proposition 300 did the exact opposite, blocking undocumented students to cheaper tuition. Arizona has a long history of being an anti-immigrant state, with other rules that impacted the access of non-citizens to higher education.
Although never fully implemented due to an injunction, in 2010 the Arizona passed SB 1070: law enforcement would be able to demand to see someone’s proof of citizenship if they suspected a person was undocumented or arrest anyone suspected of being a deportable immigrant even without a warrant.
According to CNN, undocumented students in Arizona had to pay about 150% more than other students to attend public schools in the state — and adding to the financial barrier, they don’t qualify for federal aid.
Proposition 308 received bipartisan support, but Republicans such as Kelli Ward, chair of the Arizona GOP, argued that it would force taxpayers to fund the education of noncitizens. The state’s legislative budget committee stated the proposition could impact the state’s budget, but only if community college enrollment remained steady. If community college enrollment increased, the additional tuition revenue could offset any negative impact, CNN stated.
Besides now Arizona, other 19 states allow for in-state tuition rates for undocumented students — and eight allow them to receive financial aid. Pennsylvania is not one of them.
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