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Michigan Policy

Updated As Of: March 16, 2017

Michigan has not passed a law that gives in-state tuition to undocumented students. However, the governing boards of several public universities and community colleges, including the University of MIchigan, have exercised their constitutional autonomy and formally adopted in-state tuition for undocumented students. Other colleges and universities may maintain informal tuition policies that allow undocumented students to access in-state tuition. On July 18, 2014, the University of Michigan announced a pilot program of need-based funding for undocumented students who qualify for in-state tuition). 
  • HB 5307 was vetoed in 2006. If enacted, the bill would have prohibited undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition benefits.
  • Introduced in 2013, HB 4618 would make undocumented students eligible for in-state tuition at all of Michigan's public universities. 
  • In March 2013, Michigan's State Board of Education gave a statement in support of in-state tuition for undocumented students at the state's institutions of higher education. 
  • In December 27, 2007, Michigan's Attorney General formally prohibited the Michigan Secretary of State from issuing driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. 
  • After Arizona’s anti-immigration SB 1070 passed, a copycat bill, SB 1388was introduced in Michigan. The bill would have allowed state law enforcement officials to ask for legal status verification during traffic stops, but died in June 2010.
  • Michigan's Secretary of State announced on October 2012 that DACA recipients would be denied driver's licenses and personal identification cards. 
  • In December 2012, One Michigan for Immigration Rights, represented by the Michigan ACLU, filed a lawsuit against Michigan's Secretary of State.
  • After a formal statement by the Federal Department of Homeland Security, in January 2013, clarifying that DACA recipients may be eligible for driver's licenses and personal identification cards, Michigan's Secretary of State reversed its previous decision.It began granting driver's license and personal identification cards to DACA recipients in February 2013. 
  • HB 4105, introduced in January 2017, would prohibit local government from enacting policies that limit communication or cooperation with federal officials concerning the immigration status of individuals.
  • HB 4130, introduced in January 2017, would require public employers and contractors to verify the immigration status of employees using E-verify.
  • HB 4334, introduced in March 2017, would prohibit local government from enacting policies that limit communication or cooperation with federal officials concerning the immigration status of individuals.
  • One Michigan: Immigrant- and ally-led group with the mission to empower immigrant groups through education and information.
  • Michigan United: Coalition of over 100 organizations representing faith communities, labor organizations, businesses, and civil rights organizations fighting for social and economic justice.
  • National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good: Residing within the University of Michigan School of Education, the Forum works on a variety of projects to create greater access to higher education for a diverse student population
  • Michigan Immigrant Rights Center: Focuses on training and assisting Michigan legal aid and pro bono attorneys handling immigration rights matters as well as coalition building, and advocating for low-income immigrants.  
  • National Center for Institutional Diversity: NCID is committed to the importance of institutional diversity in all colleges and universities.

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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