Tuition Equality for Undocumented Students

July 18, 2013

Until recently, undocumented students who were admitted to the University of Michigan were required to pay out-of-state tuition, even if they grew up in Michigan and attended the public schools.

A student-led group called the Coalition for Tuition Equality had been lobbying the University of Michigan since 2011 to fix this injustice. Although there was support for tuition equality on the Board of Regents, some university officials expressed concern that federal law did not permit such a thing.

In March 2013 the ACLU of Michigan, working with the Coalition, sent a letter to the Board of Regents explaining how numerous state universities across the country had extended in-state tuition to undocumented residents of the state and that U-M could, consistent with federal law, carefully craft a policy to do the same.

Shortly after receiving the letter, the Regents adopted a tuition equality policy and at least one Regent credited the ACLU analysis as influential. Wayne State University, Grand Valley University and Eastern Michigan University then followed U-M’s example and adopted similar policies.

(ACLU Legal Director Michael J. Steinberg and Legal Fellow Christina Thacker.)

View the full 2013-2014 Legal Docket.

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