BY GLORIA RIVERA
Photo courtesy of AP Images
On April 9, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals also known as DACA will not be eligible to receive in-state tuition rates at Arizona colleges. Arizona Supreme Court agreed with the Arizona Court of Appeals, which stated that Maricopa Community Colleges are not permitted under state and federal law to give DACA recipients in-state tuition, according to The Arizona Republic.
Matthew Hasson, spokesman for the Maricopa County Community Colleges District said, “This ruling is troubling for the 2,000 DACA students currently enrolled in Maricopa Community Colleges,” he said in a statement. “During the past five years, more than 600 DACA students earned an associate’s degree or a certificate from one of our colleges and are making valuable contributions to the health of our economy.”
According to USA Today, Dreamers currently attending a community college or a state university in Arizona, the ruling will make DACA recipients pay about triple the cost. The publication adds that a current student at Arizona State University taking a full-time course would see tuition go from about $2,580 a year to $10,640 a year, while nonresident students pay $26,470. The article states that residents pay $86 per credit at the Maricopa Community Colleges, compared with $241 for non-residents.
COD students weighed in on the ruling. César Acosta, a business student said, “That to me sounds like discrimination. If I was put in that situation it would mean I would have to work harder and longer hours to pay for classes.” Higher tuition rates could force students to drop out. “Working more hours would cause me to pay less attention to school,” said Acosta.
For DACA recipients the unanimous court decision continues to impact them. College student Destiny Camarena is majoring in health science, she said, “It must be so discouraging to be constantly attacked by the place you call home.” An article by Phoenix, AZ Patch adds there is currently no law that exist to allow the lowering of the grant. “The schools have to push for change, or even just saying that they are trying would bring hope to many that feel like the system keeps letting them down,” said Camarena.
There are currently 20 states including California allowing undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition. They allow public universities to use private sources of funding to support financial aid to DACA recipients. Such as AB 540 nonresident tuition exemption and the Cal Dream Act There are still several states who have passed laws prohibiting undocumented students to pay for in-state tuition.
For more information on DACA visit www.ilrc.org/daca.