Prop. 300 creates obstacles for pupils, schools
Feb. 28, 2007
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 28, 2007 12:00 AM
For students who cannot prove legal residency, Proposition 300 has made
pursuing higher education a tall task financially.
While the Arizona Board of Regents is determining how to enforce the new
law, students apparently have few options to pay for annual tuition costs
that will top $15,000 for out-of-state students at Arizona State University.
The Maricopa Community Colleges district plans to ask students their
immigration status but is still trying to determine how it will verify
responses to that question.
The voter-approved proposition requires undocumented immigrants to pay
out-of-state tuition to attend Arizona's public universities and colleges
and bans state financial aid or scholarships for those students. Without a
valid Social Security number, federal financial aid is not an option.
But private scholarships sometimes do not require a recipient to have legal
Although that may give undocumented students a chance at attending college,
educators and immigration experts say it will be tough to come up with
"There are some private donors that are willing to help out," said Josh
Bernstein, director of federal policy for the National Immigration Law
Center. But undocumented immigrants are ineligible for most private
scholarships, he said.
Many undocumented immigrants now see their only hope for attending college
in the federal DREAM Act, which would allow undocumented immigrants who grow
up in the United States and graduate from high school to attend public
colleges for in-state tuition and eventually gain citizenship.
It's usually the "best and the brightest" of undocumented immigrant students
who pursue higher education, Bernstein said. He argues those students would
provide a positive contribution to the country's economy.
But supporters of Proposition 300 said that undocumented residents who
receive in-state tuition put a heavy financial burden on the entire
education system. In-state tuition, they said, should be for legal residents
who can legally enter the workforce.
Nearly 600 students and their supporters marched toward the site of the BCS
National Championship Game in Glendale on Jan. 8 to protest the proposition.
The students delivered a letter to BCS officials, asking for support of the
proposed federal DREAM Act.a