State Supreme Court Upholds Tuition Breaks for Illegal Immigrants

Read the court's ruling in Martinez v. UC Regents »

Read the 25 page ruling


Related Articles »






  • Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
  • Comments Comments (0)

In an unanimous decision issued this morning, California's Supreme Court upheld a state law allowing state colleges and universities to grant tuition breaks to qualifying nonresident students regardless of their legal status.

The decision upholds AB 540 - a 2001 state bill that allows nonresident students to pay cheaper in-state tuition if they have attended a California high school for at least three years - and overturns a lower court's ruling that found the bill in violation of a 1996 federal immigration law.

In 2005, Robert Martinez and 41 other legal U.S. residents who attended California schools and paid nonresident tuition filled a class action suit against the UC alleging that AB 540 tuition violates federal immigration law by giving special benefits to illegal immigrants and not to U.S. residents.

The court sided with the UC, CSU and community college systems who argued that the AB 540 does not violate federal law because students do not qualify for the waivers based on their residence, but rather on their attendance at a state high school for three years. The states' universities said the majority of students who qualify for waivers are legal residents of other states. Nearly 80 percent of the 2,019 students in the UC system who received reduced tuition under the law in the 2008-09 academic year were U.S. citizens or legal residents, according to the university.

In a statement released later in the morning, UC President Mark Yudof praised the court for its decision.

"Through their hard work and perseverance, these students have earned the opportunity to attend UC," Yudof said in the statement. "Their accomplishments should not be disregarded or their futures jeopardized."


Javier Panzar is the lead higher education reporter. Contact him at [email protected]



Comments (0) »

Comment Policy
The Daily Cal encourages readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of The Daily Californian. Comments are not pre-moderated, but may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article or blog post to which they are connected. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is discouraged, but permitted. Click here to read the full comment policy.
White space
Left Arrow
Higher Education
Image Student regent resigns after sex crime allegations
Jesse Cheng officially announced his resignation from his positio...Read More»
Higher Education
Image UC spared additional cuts in budget revision
While the University of California escaped further funding reductions M...Read More»
Higher Education
Image UC Board of Regents wary of unreliable state funds
SAN FRANCISCO - Following the release of Gov. Jerry Brown's revis...Read More»
Higher Education
Image UC Student Regent Jesse Cheng announces his resign...
Former UC Student Regent Jesse Cheng announced in an open le...Read More»
Higher Education
Image Reform caucus sweeps executive positions in electi...
A little more than five months after a contentious contract rat...Read More»
Right Arrow




Job Postings

White Space