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DACA students rally for in-state tuition at three Arizona universities

Published: Apr. 29, 2015 at 2:10 PM MST|Updated: May. 13, 2015 at 2:13 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Young people brought to this county as undocumented immigrants when they were children, but who are now protected by deferred deportation, want a break when it comes to the cost of college in Arizona.

The so-called Dreamers are making their case for an in-state tuition rate.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, recipients are granted in-state tuition at Pima Community College, but not at the University of Arizona (UA) or at the other two state universities.

They pay the highest amount which is the out-of-state tuition rate.

DACA students and their supporters held a rally at the UA Wednesday to encourage the Arizona Board of Regents to allow them to pay in-state tuition at the universities.

While Pima College believes Arizona law allows DACA students to pay in-state tuition, the regents are merely considering giving the students a small break.

There's a proposal to charge them 150% of the in-state tuition rate.

That is less than the out-of-state tuition they are now charged.

But DACA students say it's still too expensive for many of them.

They also argue they deserve to pay what other Arizonans who grew up here pay.

"I've been in the state of Arizona for 13 years. I have DACA. I've been paying my taxes. I've been working here. I'm going to school. I am an Arizonan. And I don't see why that should stop me from getting in-state tuition," says DACA recipient Ana Rodriguez.

Many DACA students found they were accepted to Arizona universities but could not afford the tuition.

The law does not allow them to get government or state university financial aid.

"That's kind of what we face as the DACA students. That's the reality like, even if we try our hardest, we--the price tag is still there. We're still blocked from pursuing anything," says DACA Recipient Dario Andrade.

There are other states that offer DACA students in-state tuition and financial aid.

We're told many students have left Arizona for those states.

"Arizona is going to lose all this talent and it's going to lose all these amazing people that want to run their own business or, like me, help the community when it comes to working at a hospital. So Arizona is losing bright people," says Francisco Salcido.

The Board of Regents of Regents will meet Monday to consider lowering tuition for DACA and certain other students to 150% of the in-state rate.

If you'd like to read the entire proposal, click here (PDF).

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