Toolkit | Access to Postsecondary Education

Toolkit | Access to Postsecondary Education


TOOLKIT CONTENTSMap: State Laws & Policies on Access to Higher Education for Immigrants

Table: Laws & Policies Improving Access to Higher Education for Immigrants

Model Language: Tuition Equity


We recommend that any tuition equity bill contain language to address these critical issues:

  • The bill’s language should be as inclusive as possible, i.e., the bill should be written to help all the state’s students, including U.S. citizens and immigrants, regardless of their immigration status.
  • To avoid a challenge in court, make sure the bill complies with 8 U.S.C. section 1623 by ensuring that U.S. citizens who meet the criteria would qualify to pay in-state tuition rates, regardless of whether they are state residents.

The model language below is typical of a state tuition equity bill or law that’s meant to help students who attended school in the state. We encourage you to use this language as a template and to make any appropriate revisions. If you look at the tuition equity laws linked to in the table titled “Laws & Policies Improving Access to Higher Education for Immigrants,” you’ll notice variations of this language in the various bills. We also encourage you to reach out to NILC for more information and help.

(1) An individual, other than a nonimmigrant within the meaning of 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(F), (a)(15)(H)(iii), (a)(15)(J) (including only students or trainees) or (a)(15)(M), shall be exempt from paying out-of-state tuition rates if the individual meets all the following criteria: (i) attended high school in [State] for [##] or more years, (ii) graduated from a [State] high school or attained the equivalent thereof, and (iii) is registered as an entering student, or is enrolled at a public institution of higher education in [State].

 (2) Information obtained in the implementation of this section is confidential and shall be used or disclosed only for purposes of administering this program.