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Arkansas Policy

Updated As Of: March 21, 2017

Arkansas does not extend in-state tuition eligibility to undocumented students. 
  • HB 1525proposed in 2005, would have allowed in-state tuition for undocumented students but failed to pass.
  • Proposition SB 799, introduced in 2009 by Senator Joyce Elliot, would have allowed in-state tuition for undocumented students but failed to pass.
  • Proposition HB 1008, introduced by Rep. Justin T. Harris, would have explicitly prohibited undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition but failed to pass.
  • SB 915 was introduced in 2013. If passed, it would have allowed undocumented students who attended at least three years of high school in Arkansas to receive in-state tuition after filing an affidavit stating that the student intends to “legalize his or her immigration status." 

     

  • Supporters of a citizen-initiated 2008 proposal that would have barred undocumented families from receiving public services failed to collect enough signatures to place the measure on the ballot. 
 

Federal law has been unsuccessful at addressing comprehensive access to postsecondary education for undocumented students. Despite efforts to pass the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform, Congress has not addressed the current ambiguous language in IIRIRA regarding undocumented students' eligibility for educational benefits (i.e. in-state tuition and state-funded financial aid programs). Therefore, much of the policy activity regarding postsecondary access for undocumented students has shifted to state and system levels. As a result, state policymakers and higher education institutions take varied approaches to either broadening or restricting access to postsecondary education and educational benefits. Others states have yet to take formal action on this issue, leaving the decision to individual campus leaders.

Under the provisions of this ambiguous policy context, undocumented youth encounter contentious environments with policies that range from inclusive, restrictive, or unstipulated stances.

Inclusive: States with policies that explicitly grant in-state tuition and/or eligibility for public financial aid for undocumented students.

Restrictive: States with policies that explicitly deny eligibility for admission and/or in-state tuition for undocumented students.

Unstipulated: States that do not have stated policies that explicitly address undocumented student access to postsecondary education.

State and system policies are volatile and continuously changing. For the latest, please visit the uLEAD NewsdeskFor information specific to individual state context, click in the subheadings below.

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