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Board of Regents amends tuition guidelines for migrant students living in Arizona

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Heather Newberry | The Daily Wildcat Protesters shout in unison during the pro-DACA protest on Sept. 5, 2017 in front of Old Main.

The Arizona Board of Regents decided on Aug. 22 to expand availability for the tuition rate currently paid by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival students.

The board expanded the tuition rate that DACA students currently receive, which is 50% more expensive than the rate for in-state students, to immigrants who are currently not living in the country legally but graduated from an Arizona high school.

The previous board policy required that a student needed to be lawfully present in Arizona to be eligible for the altered tuition rate, criteria not required by state or federal law. The non-resident rate only applies to tuition for undergraduate students.  

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The change occurred due to the federal government no longer accepting new DACA applications, according to the executive summary of the revision.

“All three state universities are governed by the [Arizona] Board of Regents, and they had a tuition policy that was already in place called the non-resident tuition rate for Arizona high school graduates,” Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Kasey Urquidez said. “That is the policy that was already out there and in place, and so that was allowing students who graduated from an Arizona high school and spent at least three years there the opportunity to have a special rate.”

Urquidez said that official DACA students at the University of Arizona have received the lowered rate for their tuition, which was set by the board in 2015

“They were not required to pay the non-resident rate, which is higher —  they were eligible to pay the resident [and] a half, 150% rate of a resident,” Urquidez said.

Now, students who graduated from an Arizona high school and attended it for at least three years are also eligible.

“The court decision came down that they [DACA students] were no longer eligible for in-state tuition, but the [Arizona] Board of Regents had already set the policy — that non-resident tuition rate — in 2015,” Urquidez said. “The students who had graduated from an Arizona high school became eligible for 150%. A lot of them had been on this 150% for the last year and a half since that court ruling changed. They already had this. Students who may not have documentation now qualify.”

The Arizona Daily Star reported that the change is effective immediately.

In an interview with KJZZ on Aug. 27, Gov. Doug Ducey said he supported the board decision.

“I think somebody that graduates from an Arizona high school is an Arizona kid, and I want to see them have Arizona opportunities in front of them,” Ducey said in the interview. “...We need to continue to follow the law, but we also want to make certain that Arizona high school graduates don’t have to leave our state to pursue opportunity.” 

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The Star also reported that Arizona’s attorney general, Mark Brnovich, supports President Donald Trump in his efforts to dissolve the DACA program. In an instance where DACA did end up being fully rescinded, Urquidez said that UA will try to do whatever it can to help its DACA students.

“We’re governed by the Board of Regents and our state laws,” Urquidez said. “UA itself can’t make some of these decisions. We have to work with our board ... as well as state laws to do whatever we can. In that situation, of course, we’re going to try to do whatever we can to support our students, but we have to abide by policy and state laws and federal laws.”


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COPY NOTES

Kasey Urquidez, dean of undergraduate admissions, she/her/hers, kasandra@email.arizona.edu 

Doug Ducey, Governor, he/him/his

ALSO: I pulled Ducey’s quotes directly from this radio interview, https://kjzz.org/podcast/the-show, it was from the August 27, 2019 show, and he starts talking about the ABOR decision around 9:56


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