Dreams of an affordable higher education are about to come true for some young illegal immigrants who live in Pima County.

Dozens of them cheered tonight as Pima Community College’s governing board agreed to steep tuition discounts for those who enroll in a new federal immigration program and can prove they’ve lived in the county for at least a year.

The change slashes the cost of a full-time college education for such students from more than $9,000 to about $2,000 a year.

The higher rate is what nonresidents of Arizona pay to attend PCC. Until now, the college also has charged illegal immigrant students at the higher rate, even if they’ve lived in the state for years.

Wednesday’s vote makes PCC the second community college district in Arizona to offer in-state tuition to young illegals covered by a federal program that offers them work permits and renewable, two-year reprieves from deportation.

Read more Thursday in the Arizona Daily Star and on StarNet.