Senior Policy Analyst
The Arizona Board of Regents voted to lower tuition for students who are undocumented, bringing the state one step closer to full tuition equity. Its action last week adds to a series of policy improvements this year in the states for immigrants who are undocumented, as we recommend in our new paper — which highlights four ways that states can build broader, more inclusive economies, including by giving students who are undocumented access to in-state tuition and state financial aid.
By amending a policy created for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) participants, Arizona will now let students who are undocumented and attend and graduate from Arizona high schools pay tuition at 150 percent of the in-state rate at the state’s public universities. Effective immediately, the change lowers the cost of attending an Arizona university from roughly $30,000 a year for out-of-state students — which undocumented students were considered — to roughly $16,000.
That’s still above the in-state average of $11,000, though. A 2006 Arizona law prohibits the Regents from giving students who are undocumented access to the in-state rate. Twenty-one states plus the District of Columbia offer in-state tuition to students who are undocumented (see map).
Other states also improved policies for immigrants who are undocumented this year by expanding access to:
By choosing a pragmatic, humane approach to their immigrant friends, neighbors, and family members, state policymakers can produce a more educated workforce, let families and workers safely get where they need to go, ensure that more workers are paid fairly, and create a healthier, more prosperous community for all.