February 15, 2002

Update on Nonresident Tuition

Effective January 1, 2002, undocumented students will no longer be required to pay out-of-state tuition to attend the state's public community colleges and universities. As a result of the new law, undocumented students who meet certain requirements will be permitted to pay the in-state tuition rate, which is considerably more affordable. The University of California (UC) Regents voted at their January 2002 meeting to adopt this law on a conditional basis. Pending the outcome of future legislation that protects UC's from financial liability, will determine whether the law will be implemented throughout all the UC campuses.

To qualify for this exemption from paying out-of-state tuition, a student must:

* attend high school in California for 3 or more years;

* graduate from a California high school or receive the equivalent of (GED); and

* file an affidavit with the state college or university stating that he or she will file an application with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to obtain legal permanent residency as soon as he or she is eligible.

Students who have already applied for legal permanent residency with the INS may already be eligible for in-state tuition. Students should speak with a school counselor for more information.

Cost Difference

The effect of the new law is to reduce tuition at colleges and universities for undocumented students. The difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition is significant: California Community Colleges $11/unit (in-state) $130/unit (out-of-state) California State University $1, 839 (in-state) $7, 380 (out-of-state) University of California $3,701 (in-state) $10, 244 (out-of-state).


The new law requires that state colleges and universities keep student information confidential. A student's immigration status will not be reported to the INS.

Financial Aid

The new law DOES NOT provide financial aid to undocumented students. Students who need financial assistance should ask a school counselor for referrals to scholarships or other types of loans that do not require legal permanent residency or U.S. citizenship.

State Residency

The new law DOES NOT establish state residency for undocumented students eligible for in-state tuition.

Immigration Concerns

Undocumented students who have questions about legal residency should consult an immigration attorney. Not everyone will be eligible to adjust his or her immigration status. Making false statements about your immigration status creates serious problems. If you have made false statements in the past, consult with an immigration attorney immediately. Contact your local bar association for referrals to licensed immigration attorneys.

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