DACA
Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star 2014

PHOENIX — "Dreamers" at the state's three universities can continue to pay resident tuition, at least for the time being.

The Arizona Board of Regents voted this afternoon to continue its policy of interpreting Arizona law to say that those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals are entitled to the same legal — and financial — considerations as anyone else who meets state residency requirements.

DACA is a program created by the Obama administration to allow those who arrived in this country illegally as children to remain if they meet certain other conditions. Students enrolled in DACA are known as "dreamers."

Today's vote comes a week after the Arizona Court of Appeals concluded a similar policy by the Maricopa community colleges violates a 2006 voter-approved law which says that those not in the country legally are not entitled to in-state tuition. The same law prohibits tuition waivers, scholarships or any other aid funded with public dollars.

But regents Chairman Bill Ridenour noted that the Maricopa board voted Tuesday to appeal that ruling to the Arizona Supreme Court. Ridenour said he wants to wait to see what the state's high court decides before making any changes.

Only regent Jay Heiler voted against keeping tuition the same. Heiler said he believes the board should instead fall back to its 2-year-old policy that says "dreamers" should be charged a rate that covers the full cost of education but is still less than universities charge to out-of-state residents. That rate is 150 percent of resident tuition.