Calif. In-State Tuition for Illegal Aliens Survives

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on June 08, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge to a California Supreme Court decision that upheld in-state tuition for illegal aliens who graduate from a California high school.

With more states considering extending in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens, and Congress mulling over the DREAM Act, the Court's refusal to hear the appeal may be an indication that it believes that the issue is best dealt with by the states and legislators, not the federal courts.

As long as a student has spent three years at and graduated from a California high school, he can take advantage of lower in-state tuition rates, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. A student's immigration status is irrelevant.

A group of out-of-state residents sued, arguing that the rule violated a federal immigration law, but the California Supreme Court disagreed.

Keeping in mind that this is only speculation, there are likely two reasons the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider an appeal.

First, in-state tuition for illegal aliens is a state issue. There are some federal implications, but in the end, the case is really about a state's right to determine who it thinks is deserving of reduced tuition.

And second, the suit was filed by out-of-state residents. Courts have allowed state universities to treat non-residents differently, which indicates that the plaintiffs had a diminished right to challenge this law.

In the end, Court's refusal only applies to one state, and in no way indicates how it would rule on a subsequent case involving in-state tuition for illegal aliens. But if you're really concerned, consider writing your federal representatives about the DREAM Act, which creates a path to citizenship for high school graduates that are seeking a college education.

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