California Supreme Court upholds lower tuition for undocumented students at public colleges

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Wally Gobetz/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The California State Office Complex in San Francisco, which includes the Earl Warren Building and the Hiram W. Johnson Building. The Earl Warren Building houses the Supreme Court of California.

California’s State Supreme Court ruled Monday that undocumented students may continue to attend public colleges and universities without having to pay higher out-of-state fees.

State law entitles undocumented students to pay the same lower tuition to attend California colleges and universities as legal residents do. But the undocumented students have to attend a high school in California for at least three years to be eligible. 

A group of U.S. citizens from other states who pay or paid thousand of dollars more to go to college here claimed that California’s law violates federal immigration law. They contended the law favors undocumented students over legal citizens. 

But in a unanimous decision, California’s Supreme Court justices upheld in-state tuition for undocumented students. They said it’s legal because California offers the same deal to all students who attend three years of high school in the state whether they’re American citizens or undocumented.

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