Arizona Board of Regents proposes slightly lower tuition for DREAMers

The Arizona Board of Regents has proposed lowering tuition rates for undocumented students.

The Arizona Board of Regents will be proposing lowering the undergraduate tuition rate for certain undocumented Arizona high school students who are not entitled to in-state tuition.

This proposal would mean Deferred Action Childhood Arrival recipients would pay 150 percent of the resident tuition rate set by the Board for undergraduate students, according to an ABOR FAQ posted on the board's website.

To receive DACA status, individuals must be between the age of 15 and 31 and have come to the U.S. before the age of 16.

ASU alumna Dulce Matuz, founder of Arizona Dream Act Coalition, said this was a very small step in the right direction.

“It’s not fair for them to be treated differently,” she said. “They work here and pay taxes here. In order to treat everyone fairly. It needs to be 100 percent, not 150 percent.”  

Regents have previously rejected efforts to lower the tuition rate for DREAMers. In 2013, only two regents, LuAnn Leonard and former U.S. Sen. Dennis DeConcini, supported an effort to establish tuition for DREAMers at 110 percent of the in-state rate.

German Cadenas, president of external affairs for Graduate and Professional Student Association, said he thinks this year's attempt will be different. 

"The time has come to resolve this once and for all," he said. "I think that all of the regents are good people and they will do the right thing to finally solve this."

 Board spokeswoman Sarah Harper said the proposal is set to be discussed on the May 4 agenda.

“This will be the first reading,” she said. “No action will be done until there’s a second reading. The vote will be in June.”

Arizona voters approved Proposition 300 in 2006, prohibiting those without proof of legal residency from being classified as in-state students and receiving state and federal financial aid or in-state tuition.

But administrators at Maricopa Community Colleges have been allowing DACA recipients pay in-state tuition because a federal work document can be used to establish lawful presence in Arizona, MCC Spokesman Tom Gariepy said in a State Press article.  

In June 2013, a lawsuit was filed by Attorney General, Tom Horne against MCC because the policy violated Proposition 300.

Undocumented students at ASU currently pay out-of-state tuition, which is $24,000 compared to yearly in-state tuition of about $10,000.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misstated German Cadenas' title. This version has been updated with the correct information.

Reach the assistant news editor at kgrega@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @kelciegrega.

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