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Arizona Supreme Court: No in-state tuition for DACA college students

The latest ruling means that tuition could cost double, even triple, for more than 2,000 DACA recipients studying in Arizona public colleges.
by Nicole Acevedo /
Image: Protesters hold up signs supporting DACA
Protesters hold up signs during a rally in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals near the Trump Tower in New York on Oct. 5, 2017.Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images

Young immigrants with DACA status who want to attend college in their home state of Arizona will have to pay out-of-state rates.

On Monday, the Arizona Supreme Court unanimously sided with an Arizona Court of Appeals' ruling from last year stating that DACA students are not eligible for lower in-state tuition. Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA,) young immigrants who have been brought to the state as children and qualify for DACA are legally allowed to work and study in the U.S.

According to the Arizona Supreme Court ruling, the state's current laws don't allow colleges and universities to grant in-state tuition to students without permanent legal status.

The latest ruling means that tuition could cost double, even triple, for more than 2,000 DACA recipients studying in Arizona public colleges.

DACA recipients have been able to receive lower in-state tuition rates at Arizona State University, University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University since 2015. The rates were substantially less than what non-resident students pay.

According to a local paper, the in-state rate for undergraduate students at Arizona State University is $10,640 — compared to $26,470 for non-resident students. At Maricopa Community Colleges, the in-state rate is $86 per credit hour versus. $241 for non-residents.

A full opinion explaining the details of the court's ruling will be released May 14th. In the meantime, the court announced the ruling before then to allow students in the Maricopa Community Colleges system and other state universities to have as much time as possible to plan for those affected by the decision.

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