Toolkit | Access to Postsecondary Education
STATE LAWS & POLICIES
In the 2014 state legislative sessions, numerous states are considering bills that would improve access to higher education by providing in-state tuition rates, financial aid, and/or private scholarships to a state’s high school graduates, regardless of their status. In addition, legislators in some states have sought to restrict access to higher education by banning undocumented immigrants from enrolling or being able to pay in-state tuition, or by subjecting them to other barriers to education. Tables containing information about state bills on access to higher education for immigrants are available on the National Immigration Law Center’s website:
State Bills on Access to Education for Immigrants: 2016 (NILC, periodically updated)
State Bills on Access to Education for Immigrants: 2015 (PDF, NILC, 9/21/15)
State Bills on Access to Education for Immigrants: 2014 (PDF, NILC, 9/29/14)
State Bills on Access to Education for Immigrants: 2013 (PDF, NILC, 12/20/13)
State Bills on Access to Education for Immigrants: 2012 (PDF, NILC, 9/25/12)
State Bills on Access to Education for Immigrants: 2011 (NILC, 10/19/11)
The following language represents a typical state tuition equity law. For details on specific state laws, see the links in the table titled “Laws & Policies Improving Access to Higher Education for Immigrants.”
(1) An individual, other than a non-immigrant 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:
(A) the individual meets all of 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], and
(B) if the individual is without lawful immigration status, files an affidavit with the institution of higher education stating that he or she has filed an application to legalize his or her immigration status, or will file such an application as soon as he or she is eligible to do so.
(2) Information obtained in the implementation of this section is confidential. An institution of higher education that receives an affidavit described in paragraph (B) of this section shall treat the affidavit as an education record of the student under the provisions of the federal “Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974,” 20 U.S.C. 1232g.