The University of Michigan may soon offer in-state tuition to undocumented students after The Detroit Free Press criticized the school for charging these students in great excess of their average household income.
In a Sunday column, Daniel Alejandro Morales, a junior at Michigan who was formerly an undocumented immigrant, called on his alma mater to offer in-state tuition to undocumented students who live in the state, arguing:
“U-M administrators have defended policies of affirmative action, established benefits for same-sex employees and fostered opportunities for students of low socioeconomic status. It is particularly disappointing that a university that touts a reputation of inclusivity and diversity would fail to seize this opportunity to continue its legacy of progressive leadership. This begs the question: how does the University of Michigan pick and choose whose rights are worth defending?”
He continued: “As the last regents meeting of the summer approaches, the time to pass tuition equality is now. To wait any longer would deny yet another class of students, including Javier, the opportunity to pursue their dreams at U-M. The U-M Board of Regents should consider its past leadership on diversity and pass tuition equality at its July meeting. The dreams of 29,000 undocumented students cannot wait.”
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Morales’ words did not fall to deaf ears, as the University’s Board of Regents proposed “significant revisions” to the process of qualifying for in-state tuition. According to ThinkProgress:
“The university seeks to revamp its eligibility requirements to open in-state tuition for any students who have attended Michigan middle and high schools, even if they cannot prove legal residency. This reform could prove crucial for the roughly 29,000 undocumented youths who live in Michigan. Currently, undocumented students must pay as much as three times the in-state rate. They also do not qualify for financial aid or grants.”
While 15 states offer in-state tuition at public universities to undocumented students, only five to 10 percent of those students nationwide attend college, which likely due in part to the prohibitively high cost of tuition.