Until Tuesday, Arizona allowed DACA recipients to pay in-state tuition for colleges and universities. That option was struck down by the Arizona Court of Appeals, in a decision that will skyrocket tuition prices for thousands of students in our state.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients are undocumented people who were brought to the United States as children. When President Obama shielded them from deportation in 2013 and they were given the opportunity to invest in themselves and their education; they ran with it.
Almost half of all DACA recipients have a job AND are in school. Balancing both is hard, but for them, the investment is worth it. Phoenix should support them because an investment in their future is an investment in our collective future.
If denied in-state tuition, however, making these investments will be nearly impossible. For students of Maricopa Colleges, the tuition will increase by almost $9,000. For students at Pima Colleges, $13,000, and that’s just for two year degrees. For students at our state universities, the tuition hike will amount to a difference in the tens of thousands of dollars.
For many, these increases will be too much, and they will be forced to give up the investments they made in time and effort to get their degree. Those who do continue their education will be burdened with costs so deep any work/school balance they’ve built will be immediately in peril.
This decision will be devastating if not overturned and will pull out the rug on the thousands of DREAMers who have already committed heavily to the early stages of their higher education. For those pursuing 4 year degrees and started when in-state tuition became available, this will hit them in the middle of their college career, throwing their plans and futures into disruption.
Our district deserves someone who will defend DREAMers every chance they get, and together we can make that happen.