PHOENIX – On Thursday, the Arizona Board of Regents voted unanimously to expand access to a tuition rate paid to students who graduated from Arizona high schools, but are living in the country illegally.
The Regents, primarily appointed by Governor Doug Ducey, removed the requirement that a student be lawfully present in Arizona to be eligible for a discounted rate, effective immediately.
In a tweet, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce called the move “the right thing to do. This tuition rate will help ensure more Ariz. high school grads can attend Ariz. universities. Let’s give these talented kids the chance to study and build a life here.”
The Regents also approved the rate for legal U.S. residents who lost their status as Arizona residents.
In 2018, Attorney General’s Office (AG) sued the Regents, alleging that tuition is too high at the state’s three public universities in violation of the Arizona constitution’s guarantee of a college education that’s “as nearly free as possible.”
The AG argued specifically:
The process by which ABOR has increased tuition contravenes the Arizona Constitution’s mandate that “the instruction furnished at Arizona’s public universities shall be as nearly free as possible.” ABOR nonetheless adopted a tuition-setting process that did not consider the cost of instruction as a factor when setting tuition, but rather looked at other factors such as students’ ability to pay by taking on debt. Subsequently, tuition has skyrocketed at Arizona’s three public universities.”
On Tuesday, the Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the AG’s tuition case by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge. That judge found the AG lacked standing to bring the case.