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Undocumented students struggle to pay for Arizona universities. What resources are there?

Undocumented students struggle to pay for Arizona universities. What resources are there?

The Arizona Republic 

Angela Cordoba Perez
June 15, 2022
As a rising senior at PXU Digital Academy in Phoenix, Maria Magdalena Dominguez Torres has started her college search, hoping to pursue culinary or performing arts. Not being able to pay in-state tuition in Arizona state universities because of her undocumented status, however, has become an important factor in her choice of school.
For Dominguez, going to college means so much more than just continuing a path that many Arizonan high schoolers follow — she would become the first person in her family to pursue higher education.
Her family has lived in the Phoenix area since they migrated from Mexico in 2004. Dominguez’s parents were born in Veracruz, and she was born in Chihuahua. Her parents have always encouraged her to continue her studies, and graduating college would mean their efforts to give her more opportunities have been fruitful.
Dominguez would like to study near her family, but local tuition costs have pushed her to look at institutions in other states — including Brigham Young University, a private university in Utah — given that tuition fees would be cheaper for her there than if she attends Arizona State University.
Proposition 300 made undocumented students ineligible for in-state tuition at public universities. This means undocumented students have to pay at least 50% more to attend state colleges. This is why some, like Dominguez, look for out of state options or decide not to pursue higher education all together.
About 2,000 undocumented students graduate high school in Arizona each year, according to the Higher Ed Immigration Portal. While funding resources are available, both from the school and education and immigrant rights organizations, many continue to struggle with paying high fees.
A November ballot resolution that seeks to provide some undocumented students with access to in-state fees, however, could change that.
In-state tuition inaccessible to undocumented Arizonans
At least 19 states including California, Texas, Florida and Washington, have legislation or Board of Regents decisions that extend in-state tuition rates to some undocumented students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Arizona is not one of them.
Arizona Proposition 300, which passed in 2006, requires people to have lawful immigration status to receive public benefits. The measure specifically includes in-state tuition as a public benefit.
Due to this, undocumented students, including “Dreamers,” or those who benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, aren’t allowed to pay in-state tuition at the state’s public colleges and universities, even if they graduated from an Arizona high school.
The DACA program grants temporary protection from deportation as well as work permits to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, known as “Dreamers.”
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