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Arizona Deferred Action beneficiaries may be able to pay in-state college tuition rates

Tuition may be a bit cheaper for immigrants in Arizona if a measure is approved.

While there are a variety of benefits of attending a university in the same state one lives in, one of the best advantages is being able to pay for tuition at a reduced cost. This is a benefit that just about every public university in the country offers to in-state residents.

And if Arizona state-run universities have their way, this benefit may be extended to immigrants who live in the state and participate in the Deferred Action Program.

According to Hispanically Speaking News, immigrants who have received deferred action and obtained work permits through the program, in part so they can continue to send money to their families, may be able to qualify for in-state tuition at all Arizona universities that are owned and operated by the state.

Speaking News, immigrants who have received deferred action and obtained work permits through the program so they can continue to send money to their families may be able to qualify for in-state tuition at all Arizona universities that are owned and operated by the state.

This news comes shortly after the Deferred Action Program was announced by President Barack Obama, as Arizona's community college system announced it would allow immigrants to take advantage of the reduced tuition rate offered to in-state applicants earlier this summer.

Policy would reverse 2007 law
Prior to the announcement, a state law passed in 2007 required that any immigrant who didn't have all the necessary paperwork to prove their residency and had to pay for tuition at a higher cost, the news source noted.

"All students who obtain a work permit from the federal government could be eligible to pay tuition as Arizona residents," said Tom Gariepy, director of marketing and communications at Maricopa Community Colleges, the paper reports.

He added, however, that beneficiaries of the Deferred Action Program will first have to prove that they graduated from an Arizona high school. If they didn't do that, then they have to establish that they've lived within the state's borders for at least one year prior to the date in which they would like to enroll.

As taxpayers, immigration advocates say they deserve certain benefits
Dulce Matuz, president of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, noted that immigrants who live in the state ought to be given the same benefits as other taxpayers.

"I have 12 years of living in Arizona," said Matuz. "I pay my taxes and now I have a work permit. I don't see why I can't pay tuition as a state resident."

Plan may be scuttled by Arizona governor
There are some obstacles that stand in the way of the new policy being implemented by state universities. Hispanically Speaking News says that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has veto power, which enables her to block certain programs from going forward through an executive order. In recent months, Brewer has prevented Deferred Action recipients from receiving state benefits like obtaining a driver's license.

Arizona is not the only state to consider allowing immigrants to take advantage of in-state tuition rates. The newspaper notes that California officials are weighing the possibility of a similar measure that would enable undocumented workers to pay for school at the same rate as in-state residents, provided they proved to be eligible for the Deferred Action Program.
 

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