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Wisconsin Policy

Updated As Of: April 17, 2017

IN-STATE TUITION POLICY

In the State of Wisconsin, qualified undocumented students were eligible for in-state tuition from 2009 to 2011, but AB 40 revoked eligibility in 2011.  Undocumented students must now pay out-of-state tuition rates at Wisconsin public colleges and universities.

Legislative History

  • AB 929 was introduced in February 2016 and has been referred to the Committee on Colleges and Universities. If passed, the bill will allow undocumented students who have graduated from a Wisconsin high school or received an equivalent degree, lived in the state for at least 3 years prior to high school graduation and enroll in a University of Wisconsin system institution or Wisconsin technical school to qualify for in-state tuition rates.
  • AB 785, introduced in February 2014, would have extended in-state tuition to qualified undocumented students but failed to pass.
  • AB 40, passed in 2011, revoked eligibility for in-state tuition.
  • AB 75, approved In 2009, extended in-state tuition eligibility to undocumented students meeting certain criteria.
  • AB 95, introduced in 2003, would have extended in-state tuition eligibility to undocumented students but failed to pass.

Other Relevant Policies

  • AB 190 was introduced in March 2017. If passed, it would prohibit a city or county from enacting policy that prohibits the enforcement of federal or state immigration law.
  • AB 127 was introduced in March 2017. If passed, it would prohibit cities and counties from enacting policies that would prohibit inquiries and reports about immigration status, and would also authorize residents to commence enforcement actions.
  • bipartisan bill giving undocumented immigrants driver’s card eligibility was introduced in February 2014.
  • Representative Don Pridemore introduced an Arizona-style anti-immigrant bill (AB 173) in 2011, but it failed to pass.
  • In 2010, the city of Madison passed a resolution supporting immigration reform and limiting local police involvement in federal immigration law enforcement.

Proponents

  • Voces de la Frontera campaigns for civil and social rights of immigrants. Students United for Recognizing Immigrant Rights is a high school chapter of Voces de la Frontera. 
  • ACLU Wisconsin is dedicated to defending civil liberties and rights for all Wisconsin residents.
  • Unión de Trabajadores Inmigrantes Youth is a labor and community organization made to defend all workers’ rights
  • Alcance: Provide higher education information and assistance to Latino families in order to create greater educational achievement. 
  • Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice works to educate the general public on immigrant issues, and collaborates with other advocacy groups to change unjust immigration laws.

Research and Policy Reports

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

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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