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South Carolina Policy

Updated As Of: April 11, 2017

The state of South Carolina explicitly prohibits undocumented students from attending any public postsecondary institution. Since DACA recipients have lawful presence, they are eligible to enroll in public colleges and universities.
 
  • HB 3063 was introduced in January 2017 and has been referred to the Committee on Education and Public Works. If passed, it would provide eligibility for in-state tuition and certain state-sponsored scholarships and tuiton assistance to any student who attended high school in state for at least three years, received a high school diploma or the equivalent in state, registers or is enrolled as a student in a public institution not earlier than the fall 2017 semester, and, if lacking immigration status, files an affidavit stating they have filed or will file an application to legalize their immigration status when eligible.
  • In May 2015, HB 4144 was introduced by Representatives Todd Rutherford and Murrell Smith and has since been referred to the Committee on Ways and Means. If passed, the bill will provide eligibility for in-state tuition status and certain state-sponsored scholarships and tuition assistance to any student who attended a high school in the state for at least three years, received a high school diploma or the equivalent in the state, registers or is enrolled as a student in a public insitution, and, if lacking lawful immigration status, files an affidavit stating that they have filed or will file an application to legalize their immigration status when eligible.
  • HB 4735 was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee on February 20, 2014.  If passed, the bill will provide access to in-state tuition and state-sponsored scholarships and tuition assistance to undocumented students.
  • The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education sent out a memorandum on February 19, 2013, announcing that SC institutions of higher education must accept the Federal determination of lawful presence and admit DACA recipients.
  • On June 4, 2008, South Carolina Governor signed and passed HB 4400banning undocumented students from enrolling in public postsecondary institutions and from receiving public higher education benefits such as scholarships, grants, financial aid, and resident tuition status.
  • Signed on June 2007, South Carolina’s HB 3620 specifies that undocumented immigrants may not receive tuition assistance, scholarships, or any form of student aid for higher education in South Carolina.
  • SB 919 was introduced in January 2017. If passed, it would prohibit municipalities from having any policy, ordinance, or procedure that would limit the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than their full extent.
  • In United States v. State of South Carolina and Lowcountry Immigration Coalition, et al. v Nikki Haley, many parts of SB 20 were ruled unlawful.  Although the courts blocked major portions of the law from being enacted, it still allows for the implementation of the “show me your papers” provision.
  • In 2011, the “South Carolina Illegal Immigration and Reform Act” (SB20 or Act 69) was amended and signed by the governor. The act required all employers to verify employees legal status via E-Verify, and police to demand identification during traffic violations if they had “reasonable suspicion” that a person lacked immigration status. In addition, it would become a crime to not carry your legal immigrant papers on your person at all times, and make assistance that “furthers illegal presence” of another or yourself a felony.
  • Signed on June 2007, SB 531 requests the governor of South Carolina to declare by executive order that no undocumented immigrant is eligible to receive any services or assistance provided by the department of social services or any other state agency to the extent allowed by law.
  • Signed on June 2007, SB 449 states that South Carolina will not participate in implementation of the Real ID Act that would otherwise seek to define citizenship and alien status in the United States.
  • Adopted on May 2007, HB 3989 encouraged Congress to repeal or decline implementation of the "Real ID Act of 2005" and to oppose the creation of a federal national identification.
  • South Carolina Christian Action Council works to advocate for social justice, promote peace-making, and foster racial and cultural healing and reconciliation.
  • South Carolina Immigration Coalition is a statewide coalition that combats anti-immigrant initiatives, educates people about immigrant issues, and works to integrate communities
  • South Carolina Appleseed Justice Center provides education to immigrants and their advocates and works to safeguard all immigrants’ rights. They have collaborated with the Department of Justice to stop K-12 schools from asking for students' Social Security numbers and sued the state of South Carolina for the anti-immigrant SB 20 law.
  • ACLU South Carolina works through lobbying and litigation to protect the civil liberties found in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.

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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