All DACA students in Arizona are now paying out-of-state tuition

DACA students seeing an increase in their tuition
All DACA students in Arizona are now paying out-of-state tuition
Posted at 10:09 PM, Feb 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-06 00:09:26-05

16 states offer in-state tuition to immigrants protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program or DACA, by legislative action.

Arizona on the other hand is one of six states that does not give DACA students in-state tuition.

General Counsel to Pima Community College, Jeff Silvyn, says this spring is the first semester all DACA students are paying out of state tuition since the college began offering in-state tuition in 2013.

"It was the summer of 2013, the state attorney general's office filed suit against Maricopa Community College seeking determination from the court what is the correct interpretation of the law. In 2014 at the trial court level in Maricopa, that judge sides with Maricopa community college."

Silvyn says Pima and Maricopa continued offering in-state tuition after that ruling until it was reversed by the court of appeals and set in stone by the Arizona Supreme Court.

PCC says this decision is the reason less DACA students are enrolling in their college. They say two years ago there were 170 students and this spring there are 88.

"And the difference in tuition rate, so right now in Pima College it's 82 dollars and 50 cents per credit hour, that's the resident tuition rate, but the non-resident tuition rate is 303 dollars per credit hour so it's more than three times the cost if you're not a resident."

Silvyn says the state supreme court left open the possibility of the state legislature amending the law. The only other option for change in Arizona would be through Congress or a federal court decision.