by Alexa Schwerha
Arizona colleges are preparing to enroll more illegal immigrants this spring after voters approved a ballot measure to allow undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition, Arizona Public Media reported.
Voters approved Proposition 308 during the midterm elections with 51.7% of the vote to allow all students to receive in-state tuition regardless of immigration status so long as they graduated from an Arizona high school which they attended for a minimum of two years. Undocumented students will be eligible for in-state tuition prices beginning in January, Arizona Board of Regents Chair Lyndell Manson told APM.
Approximately 3,600 high school graduates are expected to benefit from the proposition per year, according to Education Forward Arizona, and will now be eligible to pay a lower cost of tuition by claiming in-state status. On average, Arizona in-state tuition for the 2021-2022 academic year cost $4,715, while out-of-state tuition was tagged at $17,234, according to College Tuition Compare.
“It’s an incredible deal for Dreamers and undocumented immigrants to be able to get a better education, and we foresee a large number of students returning to our colleges,” Chuck Coolidge, executive vice president of marketing and communications at the Maricopa County Community Colleges, told APM.
“I think this is a good step in the right direction to educating more people in our state,” Manson said.
Republican state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, however, told the APM that the provision doesn’t “solve anything” and that there are larger immigration issues to tackle.
“Giving undocumented students in-state tuition has nothing to do with the realities of what this country faces when it is trying to manage this border and deal with illegal immigration,” she said.
Prop 308’s victory in November reversed a 2006 decision by Arizona voters to prohibit illegal immigrants from receiving in-state tuition. The previous measure, Proposition 300, had passed with 71% of the vote.
The Arizona Board of Regents, Manson, Coolidge and Ugenti-Rita did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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Alexa Schwerha is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “College Students” by Stanley Morales.