Pres. Pearce and Sen. Gray’s Letter to Attorney General Horne on Maricopa Community Colleges

LINDA GRAY

  DISTRICT 10

STATE SENATOR

Fiftieth  LEGISLATURE

CAPITOL COMPLEX,SENATEBUILDING

PHOENIX,ARIZONA85007-2890

PHONE: (602) 926-3376

FAX: (602) 417-3253

EMAIL:  lgray@azleg.gov

  COMMITTEES:PUBLIC SAFETY AND HUMAN SERVICES, CHAIRHEALTHCARE AND MEDICAL LIABILITY REFORM BANKING AND INSURANCE

EDUCATION

        ______________

LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        REVIEW

 

June 20, 2011

 

 

Honorable Tom Horne

Arizona Attorney General

1275W. Washington Street

Phoenix,AZ 85007-2926

RE:      Community colleges; student not lawfully present inU.S.

Dear Attorney General Horne:

             I am writing to you about the classification by a community college district of a person who is not lawfully present in theUnited Statesfor tuition purposes.

             Proposition 300, approved by 71.4% of the voters in 2006 specifies that a person who is without lawful immigration status is not entitled to classification as an in‑state student or entitled to classification as a county resident.  See Proposition 300, codified in part at Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 15‑1803.  Presumably a person who is without lawful immigration status would be eligible to receive the out‑of‑state or out‑of‑county tuition rate established by the community college district. 

             However, A.R.S. § 15‑1825, also part of Proposition 300, further specifies that:

 A person who is not a citizen of the United States, who is without lawful immigration status and who is enrolled as a student at . . . any community college under the jurisdiction of a community college district is not entitled to tuition waivers, fee waivers, grants, scholarship assistance, financial aid, tuition assistance or any other type of financial assistance that is subsidized or paid in whole or in part with state monies.

 (Emphasis added.)  If the out‑of‑state or out‑of‑county tuition rate does not cover the full cost to educate a student who is not a United States citizen or who is without lawful immigration status, the broad prohibition in A.R.S. § 15‑1825 may also disallow an out‑of‑state or out‑of‑county tuition rate if providing that classification to the student is deemed as “tuition assistance” in contravention to the statute.  See also A.R.S. § 1‑502 and 8 United States Code § 1621 (requiring a person who applies for any state or local public benefit, including any postsecondary education benefit, to demonstrate lawful presence in the United States and implicitly providing that a person who cannot demonstrate lawful presence is ineligible for the benefit). 

              With this background, may a community college district classify a person who is not lawfully present in the United Statesas an in‑state student or a county resident for tuition purposes?  If this classification is improper, what penalties does a community college district face for providing such classifications?  May a community college district create separate tuition levels to circumvent the provisions of Proposition 300?

             Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Sincerely,

          Senator Linda Gray

          Senator Russell Pearce                                   

          Senator Steve Pierce

         Senator Sylvia Allen                                        

         Senator   Rick Murphy 

         Senator Frank Antenori 

         SenatorNancyBarto 

         Senator Rich Crandall

         Representative Jack Harper

         Representative Brophy McGee 

         Representative KimberlyYee

         Representative John Filmore

         Representative Judy Burges 

         Representative Nancy McLain

         Representative Terri Proud

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