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DACA students eligible to receive in-state tuition during court battle

(Public Domain Photo)

PHOENIX — Students who are eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will continue pay in-state tuition while a court battle is fought over the issue, it was announced Thursday.

In a brief release, the Arizona Board of Regents — which oversees the state’s three public universities — said it called a special meeting to discuss the tuition issue and decided to keep the status quo in place during the lawsuit.

“Until a decision is reached by the Arizona Supreme Court, the board will continue to provide in-state tuition to these students,” the release said.

The Maricopa Community Colleges District board voted 4-3 on Tuesday to challenge last week’s Arizona Court of Appeals ruling that removed the lower tuition costs for young DACA-eligible immigrants.

There was no immediate timeline for the district’s challenge to be filed.

In a Facebook post, the district said last week’s ruling would affect about 2,000 students.

“We are a very unique small amount and they (the board) are willing to put that support in us and that belief,” student Allie Aguilar said. “That makes me feel so great. I can’t even explain how well it feels to have a board believe in you.”

Without the challenge, a 2006 voter-enacted law known as Proposition 300 would be in control. That law prohibits public benefits for anyone living in Arizona without legal immigration status.

MCCCD board member Alberto Gutierrez said the district should expect pushback from state officials because of the board’s decision.

“It has not been without consequence that we defy the governor, the Legislature and the voters,” he said. “The consequence has been the cut of millions of dollars into this system.”

KTAR’s Tom Perumean and the Associated Press contributed to this report

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