119 at UA deemed to
be non- residents
Those students reclassified as new law is implemented
by Eric Swedlund
Tucson, Arizona | Published: http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/218907
The University of Arizona reclassified 119 students as non-residents during the fall semester as the university implemented a new state law prohibiting illegal immigrants from paying in-state tuition or receiving any state financial aid.
The UA reported its progress on implementing Proposition 300 — passed by 70 percent of Arizona voters in November 2006 — in a letter Monday to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. In its first required report in June, the UA said it had not verified legal in-state status for 877 students, but since then 758 students have provided the university with the necessary documentation, said UA spokesman Johnny Cruz.
The UA enrolled 37,217 students for the fall semester and verified the U.S. citizenship, permanent residence, or lawful immigration status of 33,843, according to the letter from Paul Kohn, vice provost of enrollment management and dean of admissions.
Under the law, 5,628 were not required to be verified because they did not seek in-state tuition or state-provided financial aid. Still, 2,373 of those students went ahead with the process.
In-state tuition this year is $4,824, while out-of-state students are charged $16,058.
Of the 119, six students informed the UA that they could not provide necessary documents to verify U.S. citizenship, permanent residence or lawful immigration status.
"I don't have any breakdown about the 119 students, but I wouldn't say most of them are any one thing. Some are legally doing the right thing, paying out-of-state-fees," Kohn said Wednesday. "The only people we know who are not legally present are the six who admitted it themselves."
Kohn said there's no way to accurately speculate on the circumstances of all of the students who have not been verified as eligible for in-state tuition.
Graduate teaching assistants who receive tuition remission or those who have other sufficient financial aid might feel they have no need to go through the verification process. Also, in a typical year about 50 to 100 students take nearly the entire year to pay their tuition bill and may still prove to be in-state students.
The six students who admitted being illegal entrants — and likely others without legal status in the United States — are still enrolled and are receiving private financial aid.
"Some of them got some help from different organizations in town and some of those same groups are donors to the UA Foundation. It gets a little blurry whether an individual group is distinguished from the UA Foundation," Kohn said. "The students probably went hunting everywhere they could to find assistance."
As far as students dropping out or not enrolling at the UA solely because of the new law, Cruz said there's no way of knowing.
"I'm not aware of any data that's been collected as far as students who have chosen not to enroll or have withdrawn because of Proposition 300," Cruz said. "All we do know is total enrollment is larger than it's ever been and the freshman class is larger than it's ever been and all those students applied and registered under the new law."
Kohn said the UA so far has incurred $159,000 in new costs to verify eligibility. Much of that was for starting up new procedures, mostly staff time to reconfigure some of the student records systems. Other costs for receiving and sending letters to students about the verification, and staffing an office for students to go show documentation, will continue year-to-year for the roughly 8,000 new students who enroll.
● Contact reporter Eric Swedlund at 573-4115 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
By the numbers
UA enrollment (fall semester)
Number of students verified
Number of students not verified because they did not seek in-state tuition or financial aid.
Number of students reclassified as non-residents because they could not be verified.