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Oklahoma Policy

Updated As Of: April 7, 2017

The state of Oklahoma provided in-state tuition to undocumented students from 2003 to 2008.  In 2008, HB 1804 was passed, placing the burden of whether to provide in-state tuition to undocumented students on the Oklahoma Board of Regents.  Undocumented students still receive in-state tuition if they meet the following requirements:
  • Graduated from public or private high school in Oklahoma
  • Resided in Oklahoma with a parent or guardian while attending classes for at least 2 years prior to high school graduation
  • Secured admission to, and enrolled in, an institution within the Oklahoma state system of higher education; and provided to the institution a copy of a true and correct application or petition filed with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to legalize the student’s status OR filed an affidavit of such intent
  • In 2003, the Oklahoma legislature passed SB 596, extending in-state tuition eligibility to undocumented students.
  • In 2004, the Advancement of Hispanic Students in Higher Education Task Force was created by HB 2145 to monitor the implementation and administration of SB 596.
  • In 2007, HB 1804 was passed, restricting access to many resources for undocumented immigrants, including state financial aid. The Oklahoma Board of Regents still allows undocumented students that meet Oklahoma's original statutory requirements to receive in-state tuition, but there is no longer legislation in place determining tuition eligiblity for undocumented students.
  • In 2013, Senate Democrats proposed SB 423. If passed, the bill would restrict in-state tuition to U.S. citizens, rather than leaving the decision to the Oklahoma Board of Regents.
  • In January 2017, SB 400 was introduced. If passed, students would be required to be a U.S. citizen and have an Oklahoma citizen grandparent in order to receive in-state tuition.
  • HB 1804, also known as Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, was enacted in 2007, requiring employers to participate in E-Verify and withhold income tax for independent contractors who do not have valid Social Security numbers.
  • HB 1446, introduced in 2011, proposed measures similar to Arizona’s anti-immigration SB 1070 but failed to pass.
  • In June 2013, Tulsa County Sheriff's Office joined the Secure Communities Program.
  • In 2017, SB 573 was introduced. If passed, it would prohibit municipalities or political subdivisions of the state from enacting sanctuary policies. 

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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