For Aranzazu Soto, a high school student from Phoenix, Arizona, attending Yale University will end being more cost-effective than heading to any public university in the state where she grew up. That’s because Aranzazu is undocumented, and Arizona is one state that doesn’t offer in-state tuition to this segment of the population.
While Aranzazu is fortunate enough to have been offered a scholarship to Yale – ensuring that she’s able to pursue higher education – not every undocumented student is this lucky. For those who live in states that don’t offer in-state tuition, it means taking on onerous loans to cover the bigger expense, working several jobs to pay for tuition, or sometimes, foregoing school altogether.
While there’s still work to be done, more than a dozen states currently offer in-state tuition. But these benefits differ from state to state. Below, check out what you should know about in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants across the United States.
In California, undocumented students can pay in-state tuition at public colleges. They can also access state-based financial aid and scholarships, but they need to have completed high school while living in the state.
Since 2013, Colorado has allowed undocumented students to pay for in-state tuition. But this year, the state expanded that by passing House Bill 1196, which also lets undocumented students receive state financial aid.
In 2011, the Connecticut General Assembly approved a law that gave undocumented students in the state the right to in-state tuition at public institutions. Initially, the students needed to have completed all four years of high school in the state, but in 2015, the state changed that requirement by reducing it to just two years of high school.
Through a 2014 measure, undocumented students who spent three consecutive years in a Florida high school right before graduation became eligible for in-state tuition. But these students cannot apply for Florida Bright Futures or other state financial aid.
The state of Hawaii has no law that gives undocumented students in-state tuition benefits. But it does give the university board of regents the power to reduce certain fees for all students in the state, and the University of Hawaii system has decided that undocumented students should have access to in-state tuition.
Illinois offers in-state tuition to undocumented students, and as of this year, it also offers them state-funded financial aid. Through House Bill 2691, this group now has access to the state’s Monetary Award Program, aka MAP grants.
HB 2145 gave undocumented Kansans access to in-state tuition. Students must have attended a Kansas high school for three or more years and have graduated from one or received a GED.
The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education has allowed undocumented students to receive in-state tuition at a few colleges and universities.
For undocumented students in Maryland, access to in-state tuition begins at community college. Students have to attend a community college before qualifying for in-state tuition at a public university.
Through the MN Dream Act, undocumented students are eligible for in-state tuition and state financial aid in Minnesota. Students are required to have attended high school in the state for three years and have graduated from a school in Minnesota or received a GED.
Nebraska has provided in-state tuition to undocumented students since 2006. Immigrants must have lived in high school for at least three years before graduating high school or receiving a GED.
In 2013, New Jersey gave in-state tuition benefits to undocumented immigrants. At the time, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the financial aid part of the law. However, in 2018, undocumented students were able to apply for state financial aid.
Via New Mexico State Bill 582, undocumented immigrants have access to in-state tuition for those “who have attended a secondary educational institution in New Mexico for at least one year and who have either graduated from a New Mexico high school or received a general educational development certificate in New Mexico.”
This year, through the Dream Act, undocumented students who met the Tuition Assistance Program requirements, received access to state financial aid. Before this, the state already allowed all high school students who graduated from a New York high school the ability to receive in-state tuition at the City University of New York (CUNY) and the State University of New York (SUNY).
Undocumented students in Oklahoma can receive in-state tuition if they graduated from a private or public Oklahoma high school, lived with a parent or guardian for two years before graduating, and were admitted to a school in Oklahoma’s state system.
Since 2013, Oregon’s undocumented community has had access to in-state tuition rates. Students must have attended three years of school at a primary and secondary school before receiving a high school diploma, and they must be enrolled in a public university in the state within three years of graduating or earning a GED.
Though the state has not passed a law offering in-state tuition for undocumented students, the Board of Governors for Higher Education gave students that benefit.
Back in 2001, then-Governor Rick Perry approved in-state tuition for undocumented Texans.
In 2002, the Utah legislature gave undocumented students access to in-state tuition. Despite not being considered Utah residents, the Board of Regents ruled to make an exception for undocumented students who had attended a Utah high school for three years.
Since 2003, undocumented students in Washington have qualified for in-state tuition because of House Bill 1079. Students must live in Washington state for at least three years and have graduated from a high school (or received a GED) in the state.