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California Supreme Court hears case that would bar illegal immigrants from receiving in-state tuition at public colleges

The California Supreme Court appeared skeptical Tuesday of a lawsuit that would end in-state tuition for an estimated 25,000 illegal immigrants who attend the state's public universities and colleges.

The court is reviewing an appeals court ruling that said the state is barred by federal immigration law from giving illegal immigrants in-state tuition, which can be as much as $19,000 a year cheaper than fees charged to out-of-state students.

At issue is a 2001 state law that provides the lower tuition for students, including illegal immigrants, who attend and graduate from a California high school.

A lawsuit before the court contends that the state requirement is preempted by a federal law that prohibits states from using residency requirements to give educational benefits to illegal immigrants when the benefit is not also offered to citizens.

During a special session in Fresno, some of the justices noted that the state law provided benefits to citizens as well as illegal immigrants. Out-of-state citizens who attend high school in California also are eligible for the lower in-state college tuition under the law.

"It doesn't say anything about residence," Justice Joyce L. Kennard said.

The case was brought by a conservative group on behalf of out-of-state students who paid higher tuition at California colleges than illegal immigrants who graduated from California high schools.

A ruling is expected within 90 days. If the court upholds the state law, the case is expected to be appealed to the more conservative U.S. Supreme Court.

-- Maura Dolan in Fresno

 
Comments () | Archives (88)

In terms of fees, the state of CA isn't really subsidizing much or granting any federal aid. All the AB 540 law does is qualify undocumented students to pay in-state tuition. Rest assured righteous American people, undocumented students aren't taking away from the FAFSA/federal financial aid pie. Close studies and analysis of undocumented student fees indicates that their fees actually go to the general campus fund, which is often in turn shifted to things like operation fees and get this, financial aid packages for students eligible for financial aid.

In State tuition for illegal alien is just and humane. Affordable college education is one thing that the state of California should and give to All. Illegal alien students should be given a fair chance of success in life.

Our top universities are private. Harvard Yale Columbia USC. If they bar illegals from entering public universities, then suddenly illegals will start applying to all private universities, and then those private universities won't be top schools anymore. They'll be tainted with illegals. And then the whole world will know that america's top private universities are full of illegals because the public schools barred them or charged the same fees as private schools. And suddenly our top universities won't be top anymore. They'll find illegal ways to pay for it to, I don't know how, but they always find out the illegal way to do things just because they can.

When they are applying to public universities they aren't competing with white citizens. Most public universities in california are asian or hispanic. Just look that up in collegeboard.com under the ethnicity of UC Berkeley: 42% Asian, 30% white. They are competing with asian students not white students. If they start applying to private schools they will be competing with white students, because top private schools are mostly white and in the heartland. I don't want my daughter to compete with illegals when she's applying to a Georgetown or Harvard. I say keep those illegals and their competition with the asians at the state schools. plus the CSU are easy to get in anyway. This way my daughter can compete with her white peers in the top private schools knowing full well that there are fewer illegals applying there. and the world will continue to trust highly in our top private universities.

Many of you seem to lack understanding of this. These students are not receiving financial aid--only the opportunity to pay in-state tuition. Cynthia's comment about how her daughter doesn't qualify for FAFSA is irrelevant. Undocumented students who qualify under AB540 to pay in-state tuition are not the reason as to why her daughter does not receive financial aid. Undocumented students are actually an asset to the UC, CSU systems because they pay strictly out of pocket through their own means of fundraising. A first year at a UC (with the 32% increase) is paying around 26,000. How is this reaping benefits AWAY from UC and CSU systems?
Others talk about how it's not fair that an undocumented student may gain admission into a university while a documented student who has "worked hard all their life" may not. Obviously, one student worked harder than the other if he/she was given admission.

Will someone give me the legal definition of "illegal alien?" My understanding is that Illegal Aliens who are NOT trying to become citizens are supposed to be deported.

So, we KNOW they are here illegally, but instead of DEPORTING them, we GIVE them welfare, food stamps, free medical treatment, and then tuition to go to college after they have lived here all through elementary, middle and high school.

If an American, LEGAL citizen, needs any of these benefits, we have to line up BEHIND the illegal aliens. My country has gone down the toilet.

These undocumented people have turned parts of So. Cal into a dump!

most of you are just dislike us because we get better grades than citizen born students. we are here to come and get an education and eventually start working to pay TAXES. DUHHH.

Many of you here are still cant understand... we as undocumented have showed to get better grades than citizen born students. Anyways...our goal is to get an education and eventually to start working in our fields that we choose and of course to PAY TAXES.

illegal immigrants can't pay in-state tuitions. it is not right. uncontitution.

why out of state U.S. citizens have to pay out of state, and illegal immigrants pay in-state tuition? what kind of country is that? charges tax payers and give them to illegal immigrant. bad moral, very bad, and terrible judgement.

OUT OF STATE, means you do not reside in that state and are living there now for college. The issue is about UNDOCUMENTED (no one is illegal) students who already live in California. Not ones who are coming to the U.S just to go to school. Just like everyone, they must prove that they have been living in California. (Keep in mind that it was the choice of the parents and NOT the students to move to the United States and those students are paying the price for it ) Also, some people are misinterpreting the issue and believe that this means undocumented students will get financial assistance for college. This is not true, they will only be able to pay in state tuition which is still about $20,000 at a UC. They are not receiving any help whatsoever to pay for college, but to be able to qualify for in state tuition.

Actually, 70% of those who benefit from this law are U.S. Citizens. Out-of-state residents are eligible if they have attended a CA high school for three years and graduate from a CA high school even if their permanent residency is in another state.

perhaps because those "25,000" spots cannot be filled in by the "legal resident and citizens" that can't manage to have the grades or the test scores, and "illegals" are actually smart enough to take those spots.

why is it even a case? They are illegals. Look at what has happened to our economy. We are spending too much on illegals instead of our own citizens.

 
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