Topic:
ALIENS; LEGISLATION; IMMIGRATION; HIGHER EDUCATION; TUITION;
Location:
EDUCATION - HIGHER - FINANCE; IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION;

OLR Research Report


March 11, 2008

 

2008-R-0178

STATE LEGISLATION CONCERNING IN-STATE TUITION FOR UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS

By: Rute Pinhel, Research Analyst

You asked which states have enacted, repealed, or introduced legislation that offers in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants.

SUMMARY

According to a June 2007 Education Commission of the States report, approximately 32 states have considered legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to receive in-state tuition, 10 states have passed such laws, and 10 states have considered legislation that would prohibit undocumented immigrants from receiving in-state tuition. Three states, California, Texas, and Utah, considered bills in 2007 to repeal their laws allowing undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition.

IN-STATE TUITION FOR UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS

Since 2001, 10 states have passed laws granting in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants. The laws generally require that students:

1. reside in the state and attend a state high school for one to three years,

2. graduate from a state high school or attain the recognized equivalent,

3. be accepted to a public college or university in the state, and

4. submit an affidavit stating they have filed for legal immigration status or will file when they are eligible.

Table 1 shows when these laws were passed and the number of years of high school each state's law requires. Three of the states, California, Texas, and Utah, considered bills in 2007 to repeal the laws.

Table 1: State Laws Granting In-State Tuition to Undocumented Immigrants

State

Year

High School Requirement

California

2001

Three years

Illinois

2003

Three years

Kansas

2004

Three years

Nebraska

2006

Three years

New Mexico

2005

One year

New York

2002

Two years

Oklahoma

2003

Two years

Texas

2001

Three years

Utah

2002

Three years

Washington

2003

Three years

Table 2 shows states that have considered legislation awarding or restricting in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants and whether the legislation passed.

Table 2: State Laws Awarding or Restricting In-State Tuition Benefits to Undocumented Immigrants

State

Policy

Award

Restrict

Passed?

Alaska

H.B. 39 (2003)

 

X

No

Arizona

H.B. 2518 (2003)

X

 

No

H.B 2392 (2004)

 

X

No

H.B. 2069 (2006)

 

X

No

S.C.R. 1031 (2006)

 

X

Yes

H.B. 2471 (2007)i

 

X

No

Arkansas

H.B. 1525 (2005)

X

 

No

California

A.B. 540 (2001)

X

 

Yes

S.B. 160 (2006)

X

 

No

S.B. 160 (2007)ii

X

 

No

A.B. 286 (2007)

 

X

No

Table 2: -Continued-

State

Policy

Award

Restrict

Passed?

Colorado

H.B. 1178 (2003)

X

 

No

H.B. 1187 (2004)

 

X

No

H.B. 1023 (2006)iii

 

X

Yes

Connecticut

H.B. 6793 (2005)

X

 

No

H.B. 5329 (2007)

X

 

No

H.B. 5656 (2007)

X

 

Vetoed

Delaware

H.B. 222 (2003)

X

 

No

H.R. 59 (2004)iv

X

 

Yes

Florida

H.B. 27 (2003)

X

 

No

H.B. 119 (2003)

X

 

No

Georgia

H.B. 1810 (2001)

X

 

No

S.B. 529 (2006)v

 

X

Yes

Hawaii

H.B. 873 (2003)

X

 

No

Illinois

H.B. 60 (2003)

X

 

Yes

Iowa

H.F. 470 (2007)

X

 

No

S.F. 267 (2007)

X

 

No

H.F. 581 (2007)

 

X

No

Kansas

H.B. 2145 (2004)

X

 

Yes

Maryland

H.B. 253 (2003)

X

 

Vetoed

H.B. 6 (2007)vi

X

 

No

Michigan

H.B. 5307 (2006)vii

 

X

Vetoed

Massachusetts

S.B. 237 (2003)

X

 

Vetoed

H.B. 3924 (2004)

X

 

No

Minnesota

S.B. 3027 (2002)

X

 

No

Mississippi

H.B. 101 (2005)

X

 

No

H.B. 88 (2006)

X

 

No

H.B. 1144 (2007)

 

X

No

Missouri

S.B. 296 (2005)

X

 

No

Nebraska

L.B. 152 (2003)

X

 

No

L.B. 239 (2006)

X

 

Yes

New Jersey

S.B. 78 (2004)

X

 

No

S.B. 436 (2006)

X

 

No

A.B. 4032 (2007)

X

 

No

New Mexico

S.B. 582 (2005)

X

 

Yes

S.B. 374 (2007)viii

X

 

No

New York

S.B. 7784 (2002)

X

 

Yes

S.B. 1993 (2007)

X

 

No

A.B. 8109 (2007)

X

 

No

North Carolina

S.B. 982 (2003)

 

X

No

H.B. 1183 (2005)

X

 

No

Oklahoma

S.B. 596 (2003)

X

 

Yes

Oregon

S.B. 769 (2005)

X

 

No

Table 2: -Continued-

State

Policy

Award

Restrict

Passed?

Rhode Island

H.B. 6184 (2005)

X

 

No

H.B. 7973 (2006)

X

 

No

Texas

H.B. 1403 (2001)

X

 

Yes

H.B. 28 (2007)

 

X

No

H.B. 159 (2007)

 

X

No

Utah

H.B. 331 (2002)

X

 

Yes

H.B. 144 (2002)ix

X

 

Yes

H.B. 7 (2006)

 

X

No

H.B. 118 (2007)

Xx

 

Yes

H.B. 224 (2007)

 

X

No

H.B. 437 (2007)

 

X

No

Virginia

H.B. 2339 (2003)

 

X

Vetoed

H.B. 1562 (2003)

 

X

No

H.B. 156 (2004)xi

 

X

No

S.B. 677 (2006)

X

 

No

H.B. 262 (2006)xii

 

X

No

H.B. 1050 (2006)

 

X

No

H.B. 1961 (2007)

 

X

No

H.B. 2623 (2007)

 

X

No

H.B. 2169 (2007)

 

X

No

Washington

H.B. 1079 (2003)

X

 

Yes

Wisconsin

A.B. 95 (2003)

X

 

No

i H.B. 2471 would deny illegal aliens and the children of illegal aliens all public benefits including, but not limited to, public instruction in a kindergarten program or grades 1 through 12, and instruction at a public institution of higher education.

ii S.B. 160 would require that a person who has attended and graduated from secondary school, rather than high school, in California would be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at the California Community Colleges and the California State University if at least one year of that secondary school attendance was at a high school.

iii As of August 1, 2006, Colorado law (HB06S-1023) requires that all students age 18 or older who apply for certain public benefits that entail any payment or financial assistance provide proof they are lawfully present in the United States. However, any student whose lawful presence is confirmed through the process of completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be considered to have met the requirements of House Bill 1023.

iv H.R. 59 encourages the Delaware congressional delegation “to support the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors ("DREAM") Act, but does not award in-state tuition to undocumented students. The DREAM Act proposes a legalization process for undocumented children that includes a provision allowing in-state tuition. Under the proposal states would have the option of providing in-state tuition to undocumented students.

v S.B. 529 mandates that Georgia's Board of Regents set forth policies regarding postsecondary benefits that comply with federal law described in 8 U.S.C. Section 1611, 162 or 1623. Title 50, Chapter 36.

vi H.B. 6 would allow nonresidents to receive in-state tuition by requiring specified individuals to provide documentation regarding Maryland income tax withholding; and requiring the governing board of each public institution of higher education to adopt specified policies.

vii H.B. 5307 conditions eligibility for tuition grants to students enrolled in independent nonprofit institutions of higher learning on being a U.S. citizen or legal alien with permanent residency status.

viii S.B. 374 would extend the definition of resident student to “a student who is a citizen of Mexico, Latin American or the Iberian Peninsula, and who attends a state four-year institution under the organization of the American states' educational portal of the America's program…”

ix H.B. 144 allows a student who meets certain requirements to be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at institutions of higher education while also specifying that the State Board of Regents will make rules to implement these regulations.

x H.B.118 repeals the requirement for a nonresident student to complete 60 semester hours or have three years of residency prior to registration. The new law requires a nonresident student to maintain continuous Utah residency status for one full year prior to registration and modifies the provisions that require evidence to be submitted in order to confirm the student has taken overt steps to establish permanent residency in Utah.

xi While not specifically about tuition, H.B. 156 stipulates, “Public institutions of higher education may not knowingly accept for enrollment any illegal alien, and directs each institution, upon discovering an enrollment of an illegal alien, to provide for the prompt dismissal of any such person from the institution.”

xii H.B. 262 prohibits admission of undocumented students to Virginia institutions of higher education.

Source: Education Commission of the States, “In-State Tuition for Undocumented Immigrants.” Updated by Ashley Zaleski, September 2007.

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