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Sign up to stay informed on the latest news and new developments on access to higher education for immigrant youth. Every year, states around the country discuss laws that affect undocumented student’s access to higher education. Stay informed and use your voice. 

Did you know that by a Supreme Court ruling, all children, no matter their legal status have a right to a K-12 education? Our communities have made investments in the lives of our immigrant youth, teachers have spent time nurturing and educating them and the youth have worked hard to obtain their high school diploma. Not allowing these students to pursuit their dream of a college degree is a colossal waste to our country. 

Undocumented students live in all 50 states. Stay informed.  Below are key facts about some of the states TheDream.US is in. 

Arizona

Arizona is home to 70,800 eligible DACA DREAMers as of Dec 2020.

  • In 2019, a Senate proposal to create a reduced tuition rate for Arizona high school graduates regardless of immigration status was approved in that chamber but failed in the House of Representatives. Later that year, the Arizona Board of Regents adopted a reduced tuition policy. Yet community college students who don’t have legal immigration status and are state residents still have to pay significantly higher rates for their education.  

  • Arizona is one of three states that prohibit in-state tuition rates for undocumented students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

  • Currently, around 2,000 undocumented students graduate every year from state high schools, with very limited access to affordable higher education options.  

  • In March 2021, The state Senate approved a measure that would allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition and receive financial aid from Arizona universities if voters approve the change. The proposal aims to repeal parts of a 2006 voter-approved law that bars some immigrants from accessing public benefits. Senate Concurrent Resolution 1044, sponsored by Sen. Paul Boyer, R-Glendale, repeals parts of the 2006 law known as Proposition 300, which prohibits Arizona residents without a lawful immigration status from accessing in-state tuition and financial aid, child care assistance, family literacy programs, and adult education classes. Boyer’s proposal would exempt postsecondary education from the definition of a state or local public benefit and makes all students who attend an Arizona high school for two years and who graduate eligible for in-state tuition.

Read about TheDream.US Scholars in Arizona here

Florida

Florida is home to 95,530 eligible DACA DREAMers as of Dec 2020.

  • In Jan 2021, State Rep. Randy Fine (R—Palm Bay) introduced a bill in the Florida legislature that would repeal a 2014 law that extended in-state tuition benefits at public colleges and universities to undocumented immigrants living in the Sunshine State. The bill, HB 6037, would eliminate provisions written into Florida Statute in 2014 that allowed undocumented students who had attended a Florida high school for three years and had graduated in the past 24 months to enroll in a state college or university.
  • HB 6037 would strike the entirety of subsection 12 of Florida’s Fee waiver statute (1009.26) from the K-20 Education Code.

    Presently the law waives out-of-state fees to “students who are undocumented for federal immigration purposes.”

  • According to a policy brief by the Florida College Access Network, approximately 2,475 students took advantage of the waiver in the 2014-2015 academic year.

Read about TheDream.US Scholars in Florida here

Texas

Texas is home to 335,820 eligible DACA DREAMers as of Dec 2020.

  • In July 2014, TheDream.US co-founder Amanda Bennett and Carlos Gutierrez wrote an op-ed in the Dallas Morning News.
  • Texas was the first state to provide in-state tuition to undocumented students. Undocumented students in Texas, for the last two decades, who lived in the state for at least three years; pledged to apply for legal status in a timely manner; and graduated from a high school in the state have been eligible for in-state tuition. 
  • In Jan 2021, a bill proposed by two Republican state representatives, Jeff Cason and Bryan Slaton, calls for colleges to check a student’s residency status and then decide if the student qualifies for in-state tuition.
  • If the bill were to become law, it would make tuition prices unaffordable for many students. Out-of-state tuition rates are typically three times higher than in-state rates, on average.
  • The Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP) noted that in 2010, students enrolled under the Texas DREAM Act paid $32.7 million in total tuition and fees.  

Read about TheDream.US Scholars in Texas here

Georgia

Georgia is home to 60,380 eligible DACA DREAMers as of Dec 2020.

  • GA State law currently bars many noncitizen residents like DACA recipients from qualifying for in-state college tuition, which tends to be much lower than what students arriving from outside Georgia pay. 
  • In Oct 2010, the GA Board of Regents adopted a policy that any person not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible for admission to any University System of Georgia (USG) institution.
  • In March 2021, the House Higher Education Committee passed a measure brought by Rep. Kasey Carpenter, R-Dalton, that would extend lower-cost tuition rates to thousands of so-called “Dreamers” in Georgia who are protected from deportation under the federal DACA program. Supporters say lowering tuition rates would bolster Georgia’s workforce with better-educated and higher-skilled workers in Georgia while giving longtime residents a reprieve as they navigate paths to citizenship.

Read about TheDream.US Scholars in Georgia here

Nevada

Nevada is home to 34,030 eligible DACA DREAMers as of Dec 2020.

  • Nevada does not have statewide policies that expand access to in-state tuition to the state’s undocumented students.

    Nevada’s Board of Regents establishes the rules that govern how institutions may grant in-state residency and tuition. The Board of Regents allows institutions to grant eligible undocumented students, including DACA recipients, access to in-state tuition. As a result, certain Nevada public institutions, including the University of Nevada Las Vegas, have established policies that provide access to in-state tuition to the state’s undocumented students if they graduated from a Nevada high school and meet other requirements.

  • The NV merit-based Millennium Scholarship is open to all Nevada students who earn a 3.25 GPA or better, the need-based Nevada Promise Scholarship that pays for community college or Nevada State College tuition requires students to fill out the FAFSA and seek out federal aid before the state funds kick in. That can be a daunting prospect for undocumented students who don’t have a Social Security number and also don’t want to reveal too much information to a federal government that also has the power to enforce immigration laws against them.
  • Nevada’s Board of Regents allows undocumented students, including DACA recipients, to access some state financial aid. Eligibility requirements and procedures differ slightly based on the aid program.

Read about TheDream.US Scholars in Nevada here

Employment Rights & Information

With President Biden in office, DREAMers with DACA are secure in their ability to legally work and renew their work authorizations. As business leaders, we can proactively recruit and hire DREAMers with DACA – knowing they are critical to the equitable revitalization of our country. Visit our “Hire Dreamers” page here for more info.

Help Us Get The Word Out!

Our outreach and promotional toolkit has suggested tweets, Facebook and Instagram messages you can use to post and share in your own networks.

 

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