Arizona voters will decide on Nov. 8 if Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals students will receive in-state tuition at the state’s three universities and community colleges.
If approved, Prop 308 would allow all students, regardless of citizenship status, to receive in-state tuition at Arizona universities if they have attended an Arizona high school for two years and graduated from an Arizona high school.
The law now requires students who fall under DACA to pay 150% of in-state tuition after attending an Arizona high school for three years and graduating. If they do not fall into this category, they pay out-of-state tuition, according to Jessica Martinez, coordinator of immigrant support systems at the University of Arizona Thrive Center.
DACA offers protection for those who were brought into the United States as children without documentation. The program was established in 2012 under the Obama administration and has been a a contentious issue in elections since.
According to higheredimmigrationportal.org, 2,000 undocumented students graduate from Arizona high schools each year.
“So this is also about fairness, and it will help hopefully open the door to about 2,000 more Arizona students to better afford college education, so we're all to support that,” said Erin Hart, senior vice president of Education Forward Arizona.
Education Forward Arizona is an advocacy group that promotes prioritizing education in Arizona politics.
RELATED: OPINION: Vote 'yes' on Prop 308
Hart said Prop 308 has largely bipartisan support from Democrats and Republicans.
According to Yeson308.org, the initiative is endorsed by former Republican state Sen. Bob Worsley, former Republican Arizona State Sen. Heather Carter and Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, as well as many other prominent Arizona politicians and organizations.
“It can be a great example of how this bipartisan support could do something to help students,” said Hart.
While Proposition 308 would ease the financial tuition burden, it does not impact federal financial aid. DACA students cannot receive any type of federal financial aid, but there are private scholarships that the UA Thrive Center promotes to DACA students.
Information on the private scholarships that do not require proof of citizenship can be found at immigrant.arizona.edu/financial-aid-scholarships.
Follow Payton Toomey on Twitter