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DACA Students Can Continue Getting In-State Tuition At Public Universities, For Now

Students at the special Arizona Board of Regents meeting on June 29, 2017.
Carrie Jung/KJZZ
Students at the special Arizona Board of Regents meeting on June 29, 2017.

Immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will continue to get in-state tuition at Arizona's public universities, at least for now. The Arizona Board of Regents voted 7-1 Thursday to wait for a state Supreme Court decision before making any changes to their current policy. 

The decision came just days after the Maricopa County Community College District governing board voted to appeal a recent appeals court ruling that said DACA students were not eligible for the in-state tuition the college system was offering them. 

Regents in favor of waiting for the Arizona Supreme Court opinion said it gives students a little more financial certainty and that it was "the right thing to do." Vice Chair Bill Ridenour adds he doesn't believe there's too much legal risk in the move.  

"I think until we have the Arizona Supreme Court, which is the final authority rule on that, we feel very comfortable offering in-state tuition," he said.  

Jay Heiler cast the one no vote. He said regents should follow the appeals court ruling just like they did when the lower-court ruling came down. 

A handful of DACA students were at the meeting. They said they were relieved to hear the news.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The story has been updated to correct the meeting's vote count.


News Education
Carrie Jung Senior Field Correspondent, Education Desk Carrie Jung began her public radio career in Albuquerque, N.M., where she fell in love with the diverse cultural scene and unique political environment of the Southwest. Jung has been heard on KJZZ since 2013 when she served as a regular contributor to the Fronteras Desk from KUNM Albuquerque. She covered several major stories there including New Mexico's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and Albuquerque's failed voter initiative to ban late-term abortions. Jung has also contributed stories about environmental and Native American issues to NPR's Morning Edition, PRI's The World, Al Jazeera America, WNYC's The Takeaway, and National Native News. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in marketing, both from Clemson University. When Jung isn't producing content for KJZZ she can usually be found buried beneath mounds of fabric and quilting supplies. She recently co-authored a book, "Sweet And Simple Sewing," with her mother and sister, who are fabric designers.