SAN DIEGO — The California Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that illegal immigrants are still eligible to pay in-state tuition for public college.
The court ruled on a suit originally filed in 2005 but a group of students and parents from 19 states outside of California. The plaintiffs claimed that a 2001 state law improperly circumvented a federal law intended to prevent in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.
According to the Los Angeles Times, 25,000 illegal aliens get in-state tuition rates.
Monday’s ruling guarantees lower tuition to students who attended high school for at least three years in the state of California. This includes students who live in other states but attended boarding school in California.
The law was carefully drawn to avoid conflict with the federal statute, according to Ethan Schulman, a San Francisco attorney who represented the University of California system.
“We’re really pleased with this judgment,” said Constance Carroll, chancellor of the San Diego Community College District, which advocated for that outcome. “As we said in our brief, this is really a matter of California law and California decision making. We feel that these young immigrants, who have bright futures, are being treated fairly.”
Nine other states have already adopted similar tuition laws. Similar legislation is pending in 12 additional states, including Massachusetts, according to www.finaid.org.