Arizona senate passes bill setting in-state tuition rate for DACA students


PHOENIX — The Arizona Senate passed Senate Bill 1217 Wednesday ,which creates a tuition rate for students Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients who apply for admission to an Arizona university or community college after graduating from an Arizona school, but do not qualify as in-state residents.

If the bill also passes the House of Representatives and is signed into law by the governor, the Arizona Board of Regents will set a specific tuition rate for illegal aliens who were brought to the United States as children who apply to attend state schools.

The bill was co-sponsored by senators from both parties: Sens. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek; Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix; Sally Ann Gonzales, D-Tucson; Tony Navarrete, D-Phoenix and Jamescita Peshlakai, D-Cameron.

In April 2018, the Arizona Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling against the Maricopa Community College District (MCCCD) Board over whether DACA recipients could receive in-state tuition in Arizona.

The justices affirmed a 2017 appeals court decision saying “existing federal and state law do not allow MCCCD to grant in-state tuition benefits to DACA recipients.”

Arizona Supreme Court Rules Against In-State Tuition For DACA Recipients

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, introduced a bill last week that would prohibit allowing illegal aliens to receive in-state tuition while American students are required to pay out-of-state tuition to attend the same institution.

Gosar bill would deny illegal aliens in-state tuition benefits

How they voted

Sylvia AllenNLela AlstonYSonny BorrelliNSean BowieY
Paul BoyerYDavid BradleyYKate Brophy McGeeYHeather CarterY
Lupe ContrerasYAndrea DalessandroYDavid C. FarnsworthNEddie FarnsworthN
Sally Ann GonzalesYDavid GowanNRick GrayNSine KerrN
Vince LeachNDavid LivingstonNJuan MendezYJ.D. MesnardN
Tony NavarreteYLisa OtondoYTyler PaceNJamescita PeshlakaiY
Frank PrattYMartin QuezadaYRebecca RiosYVictoria SteeleY
Michelle Ugenti-RitaNKaren FannY

Senate Fact Sheet:


Establishes the Arizona high school graduate tuition rate (Arizona tuition rate) for graduating Arizona students who meet outlined requirements.


The Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) is the governing entity for Arizona’s university system which consists of Arizona State University (ASU), Northern Arizona University (NAU) and the University of Arizona (UA). ABOR was created by the Arizona Constitution (Ariz. Const. art. 11 § 5) and statute provides and defines ABOR’s general authority related to the universities.

This includes fixing tuition rates and fees and differentiating between residents, nonresidents, undergraduate students, graduate students, students from foreign countries and students earning credit hours in excess of the credit hour threshold (A.R.S. § 15-1626).

FY 2019 Arizona University System Undergraduate Tuition 
SchoolResident Tuition Non-Resident Tuition

A community college is an educational institution that is operated by a community college district governing board (district board) and that provides a program not exceeding two years’ training in the arts, sciences and humanities beyond the 12th grade of the public or private high school course of study or vocational education, including terminal courses of a technical and vocational nature and basic adult education courses (A.R.S. § 15-1401). District boards adopt policies and set standards for the establishment, development, administration, operation and accreditation of community colleges within the district. This includes fixing tuition rates for institutions and residents, nonresidents and students from foreign countries (A.R.S. § 15-1445).