2022 ballot measure to offer in-state tuition for Dreamers would benefit Arizona
24th Jan 2022
When an Arizona student in our K-12 system graduates from high school, he or she can look to our three state universities or 10 community college districts to pursue a post-secondary education. This is a continuation of our state’s investment in young minds by keeping our best and brightest close to home, allowing our state to compete economically in workforce, innovation and leadership with Arizonans earning an advanced certificate, diploma or degree.
Such economic sense falls short on the logic spectrum, however, when it comes to Dreamers, individuals who were brought into the United States at a young age by their undocumented parents. Undocumented themselves, Dreamers are prohibited by current state law from attending a state higher-education institution at in-state tuition rates. That means Dreamers are charged 150% of in-state tuition, which amounts to about $6,000 more a year at one of our state universities. At Maricopa Community College, instead of being charged $85 per credit hour for in-state students, they must pay $326 per credit hour.
With college tuition already high, the added out-of-state penalty for in-state Dreamer students is often cost-prohibitive. Arizona loses out as a result. It doesn’t matter if a Dreamer is valedictorian, salutatorian or among the top of his/her class, they’re treated as a stranger and punished as an outsider, although they may be your next-door neighbor, your child’s classmate/friend or your best prospect for a future employee or next member of your leadership team. Think of the lost human potential.
Due to Proposition 300, which was passed by voters 2006 at the height of anti-immigrant fervor, undocumented residents were prohibited from receiving publicly funded services, including in regards to college tuition and financial aid. That means the 2,000 Dreamers who graduate from Arizona high schools face unaffordable out-of-state tuition for Arizona universities and colleges, as well as any potential financial aid.
Your vote in November can change that via a 2022 Arizona ballot measure. CPLC Action Fund is launching an educational campaign to inform voters about what this measure would do – and just as important, what it would not do. This is not a “giveaway” or “free tuition” for Dreamers. On the contrary, Dreamers (who cannot vote because they are not documented residents) would have to pay in-state tuition just like every other Arizona high school graduate.
Currently Arizona is one of just six states that presently prohibits in-state tuition for Dreamers, meaning we are at a distinct disadvantage by not keeping locally educated talent at home. In essence, we are exporting innovation and knowledge but getting nothing in return on our investment.
In addition to your vote, your financial help is needed to overturn the tuition segment of this overly onerous law. CPLC Action Fund asks for you to contribute to our voter engagement and education efforts that will be so critical in the weeks and leading up to the 2022 election. All donations are appreciated – whether it be $20 or $2,000 or anything in between or beyond. DONATE HERE.
CPLC Action Fund
Chicanos Por La Causa Action Fund is a 501(C)(4) nonprofit that seeks to advance Latino empowerment through advocacy in education, affordable housing, health & human services, economic & workforce development, and political engagement.